TCC View: Chelsea have the perfect player to face Lille in the UCL, he's beaten them nine times before

Just so we are all clear, Chelsea are definitely playing Lille in the Champions League round of 16.

Thomas Tuchel’s men were originally partnered with the French side during yesterday’s draw, until UEFA dropped a goalkeeper’s howler.

Due to a mix-up with balls going in the wrong bowls, the draw had to be redone a few hours later.

Whilst almost every single club tied against a new opponent, Chelsea and Lille decide to stay loyal and were selected together again.

French connection

With the dust finally settled from Monday’s mistake, the Blues can start properly planning for their trip to France.

Only twice have the current European holders met the Ligue 1 outfit in a competitive competition.

That was in the group stages of the 2019/20 addition, where Frank Lampard’s men won both games 2-1.

Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images

Of course, Tuchel will know Les Dogues pretty well from his days as Paris Saint-Germain coach.

Trevoh Chalobah also faced Lille on numerous occasions whilst on loan with Lorient last season.

But, if there is one man above all that Chelsea will want to call upon for this particular fixture, look no further than Thiago Silva.

Cast in Silva

Not only is he a veteran in this tournament – and in football in general – he has many battles against the French club.

As a PSG defender, the Brazilian played Lille a total of 12 times.

Of those dozen occasions, he won nine of those and only lost once.

Photo by Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

A handful of those matches were watched by Tuchel himself before the pair joined Chelsea at different stages in the previous campaign.

The Blues better make sure their experienced centre-back is available for the Lille encounter, as to unlock his knowledge of the opposition.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.