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Preview: Zenit St Petersburg vs Chelsea | Champions League

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Chelsea face Zenit St Petersburg in their final Champions League group game on Wednesday night at the Gazprom Arena.

Thomas Tuchel’s side travel to Russia looking to cement number one spot in Group H ahead of the last-16 draw next week.

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Meanwhile, Zenit have ensured they will drop down into the Europa League.

Recent form

Zenit lead the way in the Russian league. Like Chelsea, they have lost two league games all season from their opening 17 matches. Their last defeat at home came against Juventus on October 20.

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Chelsea have been below-par in recent games. They lost top spot in the Premier League at the weekend following a late winner from West Ham to suffer a 3-2 defeat.

Team news

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The hosts will be without Dmitri Chistyakov due to suspension. Goalkeeper Stanislav Kritsyuk is set to be out after undergoing knee surgery which will mean Mikhail Kerzhakov is likely to start in goal again for Zenit.

Chelsea have five injury and fitness concerns. Trevoh Chalobah (hamstring), Ben Chilwell (ACL) and N’Golo Kante (knee) were all obvious absentees.

Jorginho will miss the European tie due to pack pain. While Mateo Kovacic is also unavailable, despite a training return on Monday, after testing positive for Covid-19.

Prediction

It’s a long way to travel for the Blues in midweek in the midst of their busy fixture calendar this time of year. Selection concerns will cause headache over the team which is set to be rotated with Leeds in mind for the European champions.

It’s going to be cold in Russia and Chelsea will need to go back to the basics, executing them well, to fill the missing details lacked in recent games.

Chances and opportunities will come for the fringe players on Wednesday, and with several injuries to currently contend with, they need to step up in their absences.

Prediction: Zenit St Petersburg 0-1 Chelsea

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Source
si.com
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