UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

UEFA Champions League – Zenit vs Chelsea: Match Preview

Bertrand Traore

After their defeat against West Ham United, Chelsea will return to action as they face Zenit St Petersberg. The Blues will travel to Russia in their final Champions League group stage match.

Chelsea alongside Juventus have already secured their places in the knockout stages. However a victory over Zenit will ensure that the reigning champions will finish top of their group.

Zenit on the other hand will finish 3rd in the group no matter what the result turns out to be against Chelsa. Their 1-1 draw against Malmo meant that they will qualify to the Europa League.

ZENIT ST PETERSBURG VS CHELSEA: TEAM NEWS AND INJURIES

Suspension to centre-back Dmitri Chistyakov will rule him out for the game on Wednesday. This could pave way for midfielder Wilmar Barrios to take his place in the Zenit back-line. Other absentees for the hosts include their first choice keeper Stanislav Kritsyuk, who out for a long perid after his knee surgery.

Chelsea have their own issues in the injury front. The club will be without the service of Ben Chilwell, Trevor Chalobah, N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mate Kovacic, who all are out due to various injuries.

The availability of Marcus Alonso and Kai Havertz is also not a guarantee. The pair were forced off during Chelsea’s defeat in the weekend. This will force manager Thomas Tuchel to make some drastic changes to his lineup.

POSSIBLE LINEUPS AND PREDICTIONS

Zenit St Petersburg: Mikhail Kerzhakov; Wilmar Barrios, Dejan Lovren, Yaroslav Rakitskyi; Vyacheslav Karavaev, Daler Kuzyaev, Wendel, Douglas Santos; Malcom, Artem Dzyuba, Claudinho.

Chelsea: Edouard Mendy; Andreas Christensen, Thiago Silva, Antonio Rudiger; Cesar Azpilicueta, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho, Reece James; Mason Mount, Hakim Ziyech; Romelu Lukaku.

PREDICTIONS: ZENIT ST PETERSBURG 1 – 2 CHELSEA

Though the current champions have multiple injuries in their squad, manager Thomas Tuchel will demand a response for their loss in Premier League. It was very odd for this Chelsea side to concede so many goals in a single game and the manager will try to plug this leak.

However, many players in the starting eleven have been used extensively in the last few weeks. With the squad depleted with injury, it will be an excellent chance for Zenit to walk away with a victory.

Chelsea still have amazing quality in their players and Tuchel will be hoping for some of his misfiring stars to hit the round. It will be also interesting to see who will fill in the left wing-back role if Alonso is also not available.

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