Zenit welcome Chelsea to Krestovsky Stadium, St Petersburg, Russia in their concluding Group H clash in 2021-22 UEFA Champions League.
With an Europa League knockout place already assured by virtue of finishing third in this group, Zenit know that victory would provide momentum heading into the knockouts.
Chelsea meanwhile will finish top of the group with a win regardless of what Juventus achieve at home to Malmo, although a draw or defeat for Thomas Tuchel’s Blues could allow Juventus to finish top and potentially secure an easier Round of 16 tie.
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Dmitri Chistyakov is suspended for Zenit after being red carded in their defeat at Malmo a fortnight ago.
Stanislav Kritsyuk is ruled out with a knee injury.
Chelsea could be without Kai Havertz after the German suffered a knock in Saturday’s Premier League defeat at West Ham.
Marcos Alonso (back) and Mateo Kovacic (hamstring) are doubts but Ben Chilwell, N’Golo Kante (both knee) and Trevoh Chalobah (hamstring) are ruled out.
- Zenit lost their only previous meeting against Chelsea in all competitions (L1), losing 1-0 at Stamford Bridge in September.
- Chelsea are visiting Zenit St Petersburg away from home for the first time ever across all competitions.
- Zenit are yet to concede at home against English opposition in all competitions (W2), having beaten Bradford 1-0 in 2000 Intertoto Cup then Liverpool 2-0 in Round of 32 in 2012-13 Europa League.
- Chelsea have lost just one of their last four visits to Russia in all competitions (W3, L1).
- Only two of Chelsea’s ten Champions League goals this season were scored by strikers, with Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner both netting only once.
Zenit haven’t made life easy for any of their opponents in this group because they are a solid all-round team as evidenced by their seven goals scored and conceded apiece, which could well mean a difficult test given their home form against English clubs in European competition.
Chelsea though are coming into this match off the back of a surprise domestic defeat at West Ham because they looked good on the attack, but were let down badly by a messy defence which lacked focus and forced Edouard Mendy into action more than he should of been so expect a reaction here.
This match though is a dead rubber for Zenit really given that Europa League qualification is confirmed, so I wouldn’t be surprised if their focus is on their crunch domestic clash against Dynamo Moscow and Chelsea cruise to the win to seal top spot.
Prediction: Zenit 0-2 Chelsea