This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
Chelsea needed the win, and that’s exactly what they got against Lille on Wednesday.
It was a tight affair at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy, but the Blues just edged proceedings and return to London with a 2-1 victory. Tammy Abraham and Willian were the heroes on the night from a goalscoring perspective.
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However, the best performance on the pitch arguably came from further back. Fikayo Tomori, in just his second-ever Champions League start, was a rock in the Chelsea defence and deserves all the plaudits he receives for his display.
Defensively, he led by example despite playing alongside club captain Cesar Azpilicueta at centre-back.
He made four tackles, which was more than any of his teammates, and backed that up with an interception too. He was close to unbeatable, as his ground duels success rate shows. He won all seven that he took part in, and no Lille player was able to dribble past him on the night.
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Of course, any defender worth his salt must be as close to flawless as possible at the back, but ability going forward is not necessarily high up on their list of priorities.
Tomori’s technique and effortlessness on the ball, though, is almost as eye-catching as his defending. We’ve already seen a glimpse of his scoring prowess thanks to that stunning goal against Wolves a few weeks ago, and in France, he turned provider.
This was a true coming-of-age performance from the 21-year-old. He is still new to this Chelsea team, even if manager Frank Lampard knows all about him from his loan spell at Derby County last year.
Antonio Rudiger may be out injured, and one would expect him to return to the side when he is fit again, but as it stands, Tomori will not be the one to miss out.
He has started each of the last six games in the Premier League and the Champions League and is getting better with each passing match. Lampard, just like the Chelsea supporters, will be excited to see him continue his development throughout this campaign.