Chelsea are looking to seal the top spot in Group H of the UEFA Champions League as they take on Zenit St. Petersburg on Wednesday. It is a must-win encounter for the Blues, who are currently sitting at the top of the group, level on points with second-placed Juventus. With the Bianconeri playing Malmo in the other game, any slip up could help them finish on top, thereby ensuring a tougher opponent for Chelsea in the next round.
Predicted Chelsea Lineup Vs Zenit St. Petersburg
While Ben Chilwell was an absentee for Chelsea due to injury, it appears Thomas Tuchel was dealt with a fresh injury blow last week, in the form of Trevoh Chalobah.
With that in mind, Tuchel may have to persist with his strongest possible defensive combination, with Thiago Silva marshalling the backline alongside Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger.
Cesar Azpilicueta, Reece James and Malang Sarr are potential alternatives at centre-back, should Tuchel look to shuffle his pack in defence. As for the goalkeeper, Edouard Mendy should continue in between the sticks, despite a poor performance against West Ham.
In midfield, Chelsea have N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic out injured. It means the onus will be on Jorginho to lead the line in the middle of the park, with the help of new signing Saul Niguez. After a disappointing start to his career at Stamford Bridge, this could be an ideal opportunity for the Spaniard to prove himself.
Marcos Alonso remains a major doubt after picking up a knock against West Ham. His potential absence could see Callum Hudson-Odoi fill in the left wing-back slot, offering the extra spark going forward. As for the opposite flank, Azpilicueta may step in to provide that balance between defence and attack.
Hakim Ziyech was given a rare starting opportunity in the defeat to West Ham on the weekend. But this time out, Chelsea are likely to go with Christian Pulisic, as the American international looks to partner Mason Mason in the advanced positions.
Kai Havertz, meanwhile, picked up a knock against West Ham which will likely rule him out of this contest. His absence should pave the way for Romelu Lukaku to return to the starting lineup, although Timo Werner is another alternative for coach Thomas Tuchel.