13 September 2021, 07:18 | 28 August 2021, 13:29
The UEFA Champions League Group H fixture, Chelsea FC vs. FC Zenit St. Petersburg, kicks off at 20:00 (GMT+1) on Tuesday, September 14 at Stamford Bridge.
Preview Chelsea Champions League, Sep 14, 2021
Preview Two-time UEFA Champions League winner, and current champions, Chelsea will begin their title defense after Saturday’s Premier League 3-0 win over Aston Villa on home soil. Thomas Tuchel’s side are in fine form in the Premier League, sitting in 2nd place while remaining unbeaten in five games across all competitions: WWWDW. The Blues share Group H with Juventus, Malmo FF, and of course, F.C. Zenit St. Petersburg. Thomas Tuchel aims to repeat the UEFA Champions League success he achieved in a relatively short time after taking over at the club following the dismissal of ex-Chelsea coach and club icon, Frank Lampard. He could opt for the 3—4—2—1 formation or the dynamic 3—5—2, considering the number of options available for Chelsea. In either case, - for the former, Romelu Lukaku is expected at the top of the shape while the Belgian could be joined by German international, Kai Havertz in the latter. Lukaku has three goals for the Blues in three domestic appearances and will play a major part in Chelsea’s UEFA Champions League title defense following his return to the club. Chelsea could be without Pulišić for this UEFA Champions League opener while Kante remains in doubt to take part in Tuesday’s fixture. Chelsea will visit the Juventus Stadium on UEFA Champions League Matchday 2, Sept. 29, to take on Juventus for their second in Group H.
Preview Zenit Champions League, Sep 14, 2021
Preview Borrowing a leaf from Chelsea’s book, Zenit St. Petersburg are also enjoying fine form in the Russian Premier League. Following Saturday's 3-1 win over Akhmat Grozny, Zenit currently sit in 1st place at the top of the Russian Premier League, unbeaten in five league games: WDDWW. A point would be a fine result for Sergey Semak considering the arsenal at the Blues’ disposal. On Tuesday, he is expected to adopt the 4—4—2 formation which could see the 24-year-old Brazilian summer signing, Claudinho, playing alongside Sardar Azmoun in attack. The Iranian, Azmoun is the club's top-scorer with 5 goals in 7 domestic appearances in the Russian Premier League this season. Azmoun has also contributed to 34% of all the episodes that brought FC Zenit a goal in the league this season. He promises to pose the biggest threat to Chelsea’s UEFA Champions League title retaining ambitions. Zenit St. Petersburg will host Swedish side, Malmoe FF at the Krestovsky Stadium on UEFA Champions League Matchday 2, Sept. 29.