Chelsea Team News vs Lille (UCL): Azpilicueta, Mount, Hudson-Odoi

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The European champions and holders of Ol’ Big Ears begin the knockout round portion of their title defense tomorrow night, when they host Lille in the first leg of their UCL round of 16 tie. Chelsea FC will enter the match against the French champions with some concerns about potential absentees due to fitness reasons and other concerns.

Manager Thomas Tuchel has already spoken to the media about it, so let’s just dive straight into the team news.

Chelsea versus Lille UCL Knockout Round FYIs

Kickoff: Tue Feb 22, 8pm, Stamford Bridge

Round of 16, Leg 1/2

Chelsea FC Starting XI Prediction: go here

Cesar Azpilicueta Feature Story: go here

Chelsea wins 2 Draws 0 Lille wins 0

Chelsea win 73% Draw 17% Lille win 10%

Blues Team News

Team Captain Cesar Azpilicueta missed Saturday’s 1-0 win at Crystal Palace, but could be back tomorrow night. Go here for more about what he means to this team, and what he has accomplished. Mason Mount (ankle injury) could be match fit for the Carabao Cup Final, but this clash is likely too soon for him, given his current recovery timeline.

Callum Hudson-Odoi missed the London derby on the weekend and he could be absent here again. Tuchel also talked about how six of his players were hindered by colds, supposedly caused by the air conditioning on the flight home from Abu Dhabi after claiming the FIFA Club World Cup.

The German noted the health issues that can be caused by lack of sleep, and that insomnia is due to the jet lag, adjusting to drastic changes in time zones and the wild temperature swings.

You do not need to be a world class athlete, in top shape, to relate to these problems. We all understand, especially this time of year, and during a pandemic.

Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”

He has regularly appeared in WGNSports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, and co-hosts the After Extra Time podcastFollow him on Twitter and Instagram

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