Chelsea will be relieved to turn their attention away from the Premier League as they travel to Zenit for the season’s final group game of the Champions League.
After being overwhelmed at home in recent weeks, Chelsea’s focus will now be on securing the top spot in group H. Thomas Tuchel’s men are already ready but must match Juventus’ results against bottom team Malmö if they want to finish at the top.
Here’s everything you need to know about the game.
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When is kick off? Wednesday 7 December, 17:45 (GMT)Where is the match played? Gazprom ArenaTV channel / livestream? BT Sport 3 (UK), Paramount + (USA)Highlights? BT Sport YouTube channelJudge? Serdar GözübüyükWHERE? Jochem Kamphuis
Dmitri Chistyakov is Out / Marco Canoniero / GettyImages
Sergei Semak does not have many problems to worry about. The only fitness problem is goalkeeper Stanislav Kritsyuk, who remains sidelined with a foot injury.
Midfielder Dmitri Chistyakov is also suspended, which will likely force the boss to switch to a four-man defense rather than his preferred three-on-back line-up.
Jorginho will miss / Sebastian Frej / MB Media / GettyImages
Unlike Zenit, Chelsea have a lot of problems to deal with. Tuchel has confirmed that Ben Chilwell, Trevoh Chalobah, N’Golo Kante and Jorginho are all injured, while Mateo Kovacic has tested positive for Covid-19 just hours after returning from a hamstring injury.
Kai Havertz has trained after shaking off the injury he suffered against West Ham, while left-back Marcos Alonso is also expected to be in shape.
You can read Chelsea’s expected line-up here.
The meeting between the two earlier in the season was actually the first time they ever met, with Romelu Lukaku’s nod in the second half enough to give Chelsea three points.
The Blues were in Russia last season, when Frank Lampard’s men played to an emphatic 4-0 victory over Krasnodar, but they do not have a perfect result when it comes to traveling to that part of the world.
Back in April 2013, the reigning European champions Chelsea went to Rubin Kazan and fell 3-2 in the Europa League quarter-finals, with a strong team that only avoided elimination thanks to their 3-1 victory in the home match the week before.
Chelsea should have enough about them / Alex Pantling / GettyImages
Chelsea have not been good in recent weeks, but they have not been bad either. Individual errors have proven to be extremely costly and Tuchel has worked tirelessly to eradicate them.
He expects a result here against a Zenit team that is already out of the competition and, with the exception of a 12-goal swing in Malmö’s advantage, is already preparing for another shot against the Europa League glory.
Injuries will disrupt Chelsea’s flow, but they should have enough to get the result they need here.
Prediction: Zenit 0-2 Chelsea
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