A cold trip to St.Petersburg!
Chelsea travel to St.Petersburg, Russia to take on Zenit in MD 6 of the Champions League Group Stage. Zenit sit 3rd in the table and 3 points ahead of Malmo with a +6 goal difference. Unless Chelsea thrash Zenit and Malmo miraculously beat Juventus then Zenit will hold on to the 3rd spot and will drop down to the Europa League. Zenit go into this game having won 1 and drawn 1 since the last Champions League game. Zenit are currently involved in a title race with Dynamo Moscow and have won 11 drawn 4 and lost 2 this season a similar record to Chelsea.
Chelsea go into this game having drawn against Manchester United beaten Watford and lost to West Ham so an even level as far as results go. It is the roughest patch Chelsea have had this season and the key thing is to bounce back from that West Ham gain and go on a run once again. Chelsea sit top of the group on a goal difference of +6. All Chelsea need to do is get the win to finish top of the group having already progressed to the Round of 16. This game should be a chance for some fringe players to get another chance to impress while we can rest some key players as well. it’s going to be a cold hard game for sure but Chelsea have enough quality to get the win.
Chelsea Team Preview
Tuchel goes into this game with Ben Chilwell out long term. Chalobah is still out but should be back soon. Kovacic had returned to training but tested positive and is now out until a negative report. Kante is out and Jorginho is also out with a back pain. So along with left wing back being an issue at the moment our three midfield generals are all out due to some injury or the other. Tuchel said that Mendy is lacking in confidence at the moment and may need some rest. I think Kepa will probably start in goal but Mendy could start to regain some confidence. Azpilicueta, Christensen, and Sarr should start as the defenders while Hudson-Odoi, and Saul start as the wing backs. I think Alonso might need some rest while Saul hasn’t been doing extremely well in midfield but he has played at left wing back and our wing backs are essentially midfielders in most games. I think Mount might drop into the midfield along with Loftus-Cheek while Pulisic, Werner, and Lukaku start up front. We need our forward players to start scoring and while it may be a risk to start Lukaku I think he needs to get a few goals to get going. The alternatives are of course if Havertz starts etc.
Zenit Team Preview
It is likely Zenit switch to a back three to match Chelsea. Lovren, Barrios, Santos, Claudinho, Malcom, and Azmoun are all players that stick out from their lineup. The likes of Dzyuba are also available from the bench. For Zenit it should also be a chance to rest some players mainly because they are in the middle of a title race and they do play Dynamo Moscow on the weekend. Zenit did fairly well against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and being at home they should get a boost of sorts in what will be a chilly night.
Starting XI Prediction
It’s not the biggest of games in terms of stakes but for Chelsea it is a chance to bounce back and for the forward players to return to some goal scoring form. If Lukaku starts and he gets a goal or two then that would be a good restart for him. Also the main thing for Tuchel will be everyone get’s back to London without any injuries etc. COME ON CHELSEA!!!