'Certainly': Cascarino says Chelsea will beat Lille if they've got two players fit again

Tony Cascarino suggests a fully fit Chelsea squad will dispatch opponents Lille in the Champions League knockout rounds, citing Blues duo Ben Chilwell and N’Golo Kante as key players.

Chelsea have been drawn against French opposition Lille in the Champions League last-16, which takes place next year. First of all, the Blues host them at Stamford Bridge on 22 February in the first leg. They will travel to France for the second leg on 16 March, and crucially the away goals rule has been scrapped this season.

Thomas Tuchel’s side are bidding to defend their European crown and many feel they’ve been handed a favourable draw in the knockouts after finishing second in their group behind Juventus.

Cascarino is confident that Chelsea are going to have enough to eliminate Lille, especially if key figures are back.

Blues central midfielder N’Golo Kante is already back in training this week after his recent injury absence. Meanwhile, left wing-back Chilwell has reportedly had a light training session and the club are yet to decide whether or not he’ll need surgery on his knee inury.

RONALDO NEEDS TO STOP WHINING.

“I’m sure Chelsea will be better placed in February than now, with Ben Chilwell and N’Golo Kanté back from injury, so they should certainly win this. Lille won the French title last season but then lost their manager and a few players and have fallen to mid-table. However, they are a brave and high-energy team who I feel are on the up again. Jonathan David, the Canadian forward, has been a revelation,” Cascarino wrote.

Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

Kante and Chilwell in best Chelsea XI

Chelsea’s standards on the pitch have dropped in the past month, but it’s understandable when you consider two of their best individuals have been sidelined.

Kante and Chilwell, who are both ex-Leicester City players, bring so much quality and energy to the line-up.

Blues fans are waiting for clearer detail from Tuchel on Chilwell’s situation, but Kante’s return seems imminent after confirmation from the club about training.

Chelsea know they’ll rightly start as favourites against Lille next year and it’s the part of the tournament where it really cranks up. However, defending the Champions League crown is a monstrous challenge.

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A sports journalist who graduated from Staffordshire University in 2016 and is a Chelsea supporter. Loves anything football or cricket related when it comes to England.