Juventus v Villarreal
A 1-1 draw in the first leg leaves this tie finely poised, though Juventus are expected to make home advantage count as they welcome the Yellow Submarine.
The Turin-based side have won 14 of 21 unbeaten matches over 90 minutes since late November, including four on the spin since these two met three weeks ago, while this spell has seen them claim victory in eight out of 10 on their own patch as they conceded just four goals.
Although Juventus have only registered two clean sheets across their past eight appearances, concessions have been more commonplace on the road, and the visitors arrive with a depleted squad. Although experienced centre-back Raul Albiol looks set to recover from a hamstring complaint in time, Unai Emery is definitely without Ruben Pena, Paco Alcacer and Alberto Moreno, while Gerard Moreno, Etienne Capoue and Juan Foyth are all major doubts and it would be a surprise if any of them featured.
Max Allegri has long-term absentees in the shape of Federico Chiesa, Weston McKennie and Kaio Jorge, while Denis Zakaria is expected to miss out.
However, the Juventus boss will hope to have key men Paulo Dybala and Giorgio Chiellini back or this one, with the later more likely to start in place of Daniele Rugani, even if Leonardo Bonucci’s participation appears highly unlikely.
Although Villarreal did claim victory on Italian soil in the group stages at Atalanta, they did concede twice in that encounter and have an alarming defensive record on their travels. They’ve shut out their opponents in just two of 15 road trips going back to late September, as even one of the exceptions came against domestic minnows Victoria CF in the Copa del Rey.
JUVENTUS TO WIN
Lille v Chelsea
Chelsea may be facing a testing time off the pitch, but Thomas Tuchel has steered the club to four wins on the bounce since a defeat on penalties in the League Cup final to Liverpool. The opponents may not have been the strongest, as they squared off with Luton, Burnley, Norwich and Newcastle, though a 2-0 win in the first leg of this tie leaves them with a W23-D12-L2 record over 90 minutes going back to the start of October, as only West Ham and Man City got the better of them. They’re currently on a run of six wins from seven, as the exception came in that clash with Liverpool, so at least on the pitch the club appears to be in good shape.
After landing an unexpected Ligue 1 title last year, Lille look like missing out on a European finish altogether this season, which should perhaps come as no surprise given the club struggles to maintain its best talents for long. They have only lost once across their last six, though that was the defeat at Stamford Bridge, while this sequence of results was directly preceded by a 5-1 hammering when hosting real quality in the form of PSG.
The hosts don’t have any injury concerns beyond back-up goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis, but Chelsea aren’t doing too badly on that front either. Full-backs Reece James and Ben Chillwell are the only confirmed absentees, while Cesar Azpilicueta and Callum Hudson-Odoi are doubts.
Lille should hope to keep things tight with defence their main strength. All but one of their last six outings have seen fewer than three goals, with only Chelsea able to breach their backline, while seven of their eight defeats since the start of December have finished either 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1. Given 11 of Chelsea’s last 14 matches have seen a maximum of two goals over 90 minutes, the visitors should be able to ease to a comfortable, if narrow victory to coast into the quarter-finals.
CHELSEA TO WIN AND UNDER 2.5 GOALS
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