Champion league: Chelsea vs Zenit St Petersburg livestream, Line up and Preview.

Champion league: Chelsea vs Zenit St Petersburg livestream, Line up and Preview.

Chelsea vs Zenit St Petersburg preview as the Champions League holders face their first clash in the defence of their trophy. Can the Blues build on a strong start to the season with three points against Zenit? 
Key facts:
  • Chelsea are unbeaten in 11 Champions League group stage games.
  • The Blues have won five of their six meetings with Russian sides in this competition.
  • Zenit lost all of their trips in last season’s group stage by at least two goals.
  • The visitors conceded a penalty in all three of those defeats

Preview 

Chelsea return to the Champions League after lifting the trophy in Lisbon last term and they’re expected to return with a victory. Only two of the last 27 seasons have seen the defending champions lose their opener. When the champions kick-off at home, they’ve won in 12 of 18 seasons.

Chelsea are unbeaten in 11 group stage games, they’ve lost once in 13 Champions League games overall and they’ve got a brilliant record against Russian sides in this competition. With five wins from six encounters (D1) its little wonder the Blues are so short for a home win.

Zenit’s dire record
Last term was one to forget for Zenit. They are winless in their last seven UEFA Champions League games (D1 L6). That includes last season’s dismal return of only one point from their six group games.

The visitors lost by at least two goals in each of their three Champions League trips last term. That poor record wasn’t helped by the fact that they conceded a penalty in all three games. With that in mind, Jorginho looks like a great value scorer bet. The Blues were awarded five penalties in six group games last year so they have form in that department too.

Chelsea’s class to tell
Zenit should struggle against a Chelsea side who have made a brilliant start to the new season. The Blues have won 3-0 in their two home games so far, winning three of their four Premier League games by two clear goals.

We think the hosts are great value on a -1 handicap for a win here, while another 3-0 victory wouldn’t be a surprise. The Blues have kept nine clean sheets in their last 13 matches in this competition, so back them for another convincing win to nil.

Chelsea team News

Chelsea will be without key midfielder N’Golo Kante, who is yet to recover fully from the injury he picked up against Liverpool. In addition, winger Christian Pulisic has also been ruled out after returning with an injury from international duty. Interestingly, fringe players like Malang Sarr, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley have been named in the squad by manager Thomas Tuchel.

The German tactician is unlikely to change anything in the way he sets his team up although there could be alterations in personnel. Edouard Mendy ought to keep hold of his place in the starting XI ahead of Kepa Arrizabalaga. There should be a couple of changes in defence with Andreas Christensen coming in for Thiago Silva, whose game-time needs to be managed.

The other change should see Cesar Azpilicueta moving into the centre-back slot in place of Trevoh Chalobah as Reece James returns to the lineup at right wing-back after missing the weekend clash due to suspension. Marcos Alonso has started the season strongly and should start again at left wing-back ahead of Ben Chilwell.

Saul Niguez made his Chelsea debut in the weekend win against Aston Villa but had a forgettable outing. So, we can expect Jorginho to start from the off here, partnering with Mateo Kovacic in the middle of the park.

Moving into the final third of the pitch, Mason Mount ought to return to the starting lineup as one of the two attacking midfielders. Kai Havertz ought to hold on to his place, meaning Hakim Ziyech will be the one missing out. Romelu Lukaku has been in red-hot form since returning to Chelsea and should spearhead their attack again this Tuesday.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Mendy; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; James, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso; Mount, Havertz; Lukaku

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Kerzhakov; Sutormin, Chistyakov, Rakitskiy, Santos; Malcom, Wendel, Kuzyaev, Mostovoy; Azmoun, Dzyuba



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