Chelsea make a short trip to face Lille in their second Champions League match of the season on Wednesday as Frank Lampard hopes to pick up a first win in Europe.
Competition: Champions League 2019/20
Date: Wednesday, 2 October 2019
Time: 20 UK/ 21CET
Venue: Stade Pierre-Mauroy (Villeneuve d’Ascq)
A home defeat to Valencia leaves the Blues three points behind both the Spaniards and Ajax heading into the second round of fixtures, and Lampard needs points on the board before the double-header against the Dutch champions.
Lille's loss to Ajax makes them favorites to finish bottom of the group, and Chelsea need points against the potential whipping boys before Valencia and Ajax take charge.
While Lille initially struggled in the aftermath of allowing Nicolas Pepe to leave for Arsenal, Christophe Galtier has got his team reproducing some of the forms which earned them a place in this competition.
Five points have come from games against Rennes, Strasbourg, and Nice, leaving the club in the fourth position in the Ligue 1 standings, just four points adrift of leaders Paris Saint-Germain.
Lille remain in somewhat of a transitional period given the goals which Pepe contributed last season, although young Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen has shown that there is life after the winger with six strikes and two assists from eight league appearances.
Chelsea travel to France on the back of their first clean sheet of the season, achieved against Brighton & Hove Albion, but Frank Lampard still finds himself at a stage where he needs more results to match performances.
Losing out to Valencia came as a bitter blow, especially with Ross Barkley skying a late penalty, and it puts more pressure on his developing squad when some of them are still bedding into life in the first team.
While clean sheets have been an obvious problem, taking opportunities at the other end is also an issue, and Chelsea need to develop a ruthless streak on a game-by-game basis.
They displayed one when on their travels against each of Norwich City and Wolverhampton Wanderers, with those results perhaps an indication that Lampard's side will be more suited to playing away from home as the season progresses.
Lampard revealed on Saturday that N'Golo Kante had picked up another issue with his hamstring, leaving the Frenchman as a fitness doubt ahead of this game.
Mateo Kovacic is likely to get the nod over both Kante and Ross Barkley, with the front four staying the same unless Lampard decides to throw Callum Hudson-Odoi into the side after his impressive cameo at the weekend.
While Kurt Zouma could return from illness, the defense should remain unchanged, providing that Andreas Christensen came through unscathed against Brighton after a recent issue with his knee.
Timothy Weah is still sidelined for Lille, but Galtier should have no issues with the rest of his squad.
Gabriel is expected to get the nod over Tiago Djalo in the center of the defense, with former Blues forward Loic Remy likely to remain on the bench.
Head to head results:
The two sides have yet to meet in an official UEFA competition.
Possible starting lineups:
Maignan; Celik, Fonte, Gabriel, Bradaric; Andre, Soumare; Araujo, Ikone, Bamba; Osimhen
Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Tomori, Alonso; Jorginho, Kovacic; Pedro, Mount, Willian; Abraham