Zenit vs Chelsea LIVE: Champions League result, final score and reaction tonight

·28 min read
Magomed Ozdoev celebrates after scoring Zenit’s late equaliser (AFP via Getty Images)
Magomed Ozdoev celebrates after scoring Zenit’s late equaliser (AFP via Getty Images)

Champions League holders Chelsea finished as Group H runners-up after conceding a stoppage-time equaliser in a pulsating 3-3 draw at Zenit St Petersburg on Wednesday.

The result left Chelsea second on 13 points from six games, two behind group winners Juventus who leapt into pole position thanks to a 1-0 home win over Sweden’s Malmo.

Both sides had already booked their last-16 berths while third-placed Zenit will go into the second-tier Europa League after the winter break.

Timo Werner fired Chelsea ahead in the second minute with a tap-in from a Ross Bakley corner before Brazilian Claudinho levelled in the 38th with a glancing header.

Rattled by the equaliser, Chelsea fell behind three minutes later when Iranian striker Sardar Azmoun beat the offside trap and slotted the ball home after rounding goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Romelu Lukaku hit back in the 62nd minute as he stroked the ball into an empty net after a flowing move and Chelsea seemed to have forced the final twist after Werner struck again in the 85th thanks to good work by substitute Christian Pulisic.

The Premier League side were undone, however, by a spectacular equaliser at the death as they failed to clear a cross and late substitute Magomed Ozdoev unleashed an unstoppable volley past Kepa from the edge of the penalty area.

Follow Champions League updates below:

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Zenit vs Chelsea Champions League updates

  • Chelsea must match Juventus’ result to finish top of the group

  • Romelu Lukaku starts up front; Mateo Kovacic out with Covid

  • 2 min: Timo Werner taps home Chelsea’s opener

  • 38 mins: Claudinho’s diving header from close range equalises for Zenit

  • 41 mins: Azmoun rounds Kepa to put Zenit ahead before the break

  • 62 min: Lukaku finishes off well-worked Chelsea move for 2-2

  • 85 min: Werner fires home Blues’ third goal

  • 90+4 min: Ozdoev scores stunning late equaliser

Man Utd vs Young Boys: Dean Henderson and Donny van de Beek start for Manchester United against Young Boys

19:50 , Michael Jones

Dean Henderson and Donny van de Beek will start Manchester United’s Champions League group stage meeting with Young Boys, Ralf Rangnick has confirmed.

The United interim manager said both players would be handed a chance to impress at Old Trafford on Wednesday night after having to make do with limited playing time under his predecessor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Henderson is yet to make an appearance for United’s first team this season after suffering a delayed start to the season due to a hip injury and suffering with Covid-19, while Van de Beek has only made three starts.

Dean Henderson and Donny van de Beek to start against Young Boys

Man Utd vs Young Boys: Rangnick on bringing confidence back to United

19:47 , Michael Jones

Manchester United’s new coach Ralf Rangnick says that winning games will bring confidence to the players and help them develop into a successful team. He said:

If you win games it is the best tool to gain confidence. I need to get into their heart, their brains, their blood, whatever. The first steps have been taken,

"I have only been here for a week. A club like Manchester United wishes to be as successful as we can be. It is important we develop the team. We are playing every three days, so it has to happen in games.

"This is a perfect opportunity to get to know the players."

Man Utd vs Young Boys

19:45 , Michael Jones

Reaction from Chelsea’s draw in St. Petersburg still to come but the focus moves to Manchester where Man Utd take on Young Boys. Here are the line-ups:

Man Utd XI: Henderson, Wan-Bissaka, Matic, Bailly, Shaw, Lingard, Van de Beek, Mata, Amad, Greenwood, Elanga

Young Boys XI: Faivre, Maceiras, Camara, Lustenberger, Lefort, Pereira, Aebischer, Elia, Rieder, Ngamaleu, Siebatcheu

Ralf Rangnick makes 11 changes to the Manchester United starting XI with Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes playing no part in tonight’s game.

Full-time: Zenit 3 - 3 Chelsea

19:40 , Michael Jones

90+6 mins: Chelsea have to settle for a draw in the last group stage fixture. Chelsea now finish second in the group as Juventus have beaten Malmo in Turin. That means the Blues will face one of the other group winners in the last-16.

GOAL! Zenit 3 - 3 Chelsea (Ozdoev, 90+4’)

19:37 , Michael Jones

90+4 mins: What a strike this is! Chelsea have been pegged back again. The fail to clear a simple long ball and Claudinho keeps the Zenit attack alive. He passes it out to the left wing where a cross comes into the middle of the Chelsea box. Sarr heads it out as far as Ozdoev. The substitute draws onto the ball and drills a volley at goal. The shot continues to rise and leave Kepa Arrizabalaga before nestling in the left hand top corner!

Zenit 2 - 3 Chelsea

19:36 , Michael Jones

90+3 mins: Cesar Azpilicueta takes a knock as he defends a long ball into the Chelsea box and after a breather he’s back on his feet ready to go. Not a bad way to run down a few seconds.

Zenit 2 - 3 Chelsea

19:34 , Michael Jones

90 mins: There’s going to be six minutes of added time to play. Chelsea will want to see out this match now, Zenit seem to be running on reserves.

Zenit 2 - 3 Chelsea

19:31 , Michael Jones

88 mins: There was a nervous wait for Chelsea as VAR checked that Werner had stayed onside but the goal stands and Chelsea have moved back to the top of Group H. Thomas Tuchel will be pleased about this second half. Chelsea have taken the game to Zenit and earned both of their second half goals. Kepa Arrizabalaga has been brilliant in goal too and he’s come up with some vital saves to keep them in the game.

GOAL! Zenit 2 - 3 Chelsea (Werner, 85’)⚽️

19:27 , Michael Jones

85 mins: Superb goal from Chelsea! A pacey pass up to Pulisic is brilliantly controlled and he plays a quick one-two with Ziyech to run along from front edge of the box. Werner drifts into space in the box but Pulisic picks him out. He shifts the ball to the right and fires a low shot underneath the goalkeeper to put Chelsea back in front. A fine finish from the German.

Zenit 2 - 2 Chelsea

19:24 , Michael Jones

81 mins: Into the last 10 minutes in St. Petersburg. Christensen heads a Zenit corner out towards Lovren who takes a shot from range but pulls it wide of goal.

Zenit 2 - 2 Chelsea

19:23 , Michael Jones

78 mins: Azmoun tried his best to continue for Zenit but he limps off a little dejectedly to be replaced with Artem Dzyuba. Chelsea are still chasing down a winning goal. Havertz and Werner combine to get the ball into the box and Werner’s shot is deflected out for a corner.

Ziyech swings the set piece into the box but Zenit head it away.

Zenit 2 - 2 Chelsea

19:19 , Michael Jones

75 mins: Another double change for Chelsea as Azmoun gets a little treatment. Marcos Alonso and Kai Havertz come on for Saul Niguez and Romelu Lukaku.

Zenit 2 - 2 Chelsea

19:18 , Michael Jones

73 mins: Sarr and Azmoun come together off the ball and the Zenit striker goes down in pain clutching his ankle. Kepa Arrizabalaga calls for the Zenit medical team to come and take a look.

Zenit 2 - 2 Chelsea

19:15 , Michael Jones

70 mins: SAVE! Claudinho’s corner doesn’t beat the first man but Zenit recover the ball quickly. They work it back to Claudinho who flicks another cross into the box. Azmoun is unmarked and he meets the ball in the air with a powerful header at goal. Kepa reacts fast and dives across to the left to turn the effort wide of the post!

Zenit 2 - 2 Chelsea

19:13 , Michael Jones

68 mins: That goal from Romelu Lukaku ended a 10-game run without scoring. Will that get him back into form?

Claudinho attempts to take on Saul with a driving run into the right side of the box and he wins a corner for the home side.

Zenit 2 - 2 Chelsea

19:08 , Michael Jones

65 mins: Thomas Tuchel makes a double change after that goal to see if Chelsea can score again and move back to the top of the group. Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic come on in place of Ross Barkley and Callum Hudson-Odoi.

GOAL! Zenit 2 - 2 Chelsea (Lukaku, 62’)⚽️

19:04 , Michael Jones

62 mins: Lovely goal from Chelsea! Timo Werner brings the ball to the edge of the box and passes it to Barkley before breaking through the lines. Lukaku is hovering in the middle of the box in an offside position but the ball doesn’t come to him. Barkley slots it into the right side of the area where Werner collects the pass and knocks it across to Lukaku who taps it home to equalise for the Blues.

Zenit 2 - 1 Chelsea

19:03 , Michael Jones

60 mins: Dejan Lovren goes in the book for a tackle on Timo Werner. The Zenit captain isn’t at all happy with that decision and tells the referee.

Reece James flicks the resultant free kick into the box but it’s well defended by the home side.

Zenit 2 - 1 Chelsea

19:00 , Michael Jones

57 mins: Mount fizzes a pass into Lukaku but his first touch is poor and he isn’t able to bring it under control. Chelsea have stepped up a gear, they’re pegging Zenit back and sliding the ball around nicely, waiting for the openings to appear.

Zenit 2 - 1 Chelsea

18:59 , Michael Jones

54 mins: Save! Better from Chelsea as they patiently move the ball up through the middle. Lukaku receives it in the box and shifts it away from one of the centre-backs before squaring a pass to Saul. He shoots and forces Kerzhakov into palming the ball away!

Zenit 2 - 1 Chelsea

18:56 , Michael Jones

51 mins: Save! Kepa Arrizabalaga’s made a bunch of good saves already tonight and he’s called into action again. Malcom takes the ball into the right side of the box and cuts onto his left foot before firing an effort at the Chelsea goalkeeper. Kepa has to leap to his right but he gets two hands to the shot and parries it away.

Zenit 2 - 1 Chelsea

18:53 , Michael Jones

48 mins: Almost! Chelsea work hard to get the ball out from the back but are forced to boot it long towards Lukaku. He does well to win the header and dink it into the midfield area for Mount. Hudson-Odoi breaks down the right side and Mount guides a pass over to him. He comes into the box as Werner makes a run towards goal. Hudson-Odoi attempts to square it but Barrios intercepts the pass and Zenit clear their lines.

Second half: Zenit 2 - 1 Chelsea

18:49 , Michael Jones

Kick off: Zenit St Petersburg get the match back underway. Chelsea need to wrestle the momentum away from the home team and get the ball under control. They win a couple of throw ins on the left side and work slowly up the pitch.

Man Utd vs Young Boys: Manchester United’s line-up

18:48 , Michael Jones

Man Utd XI: Henderson, Bailly, Mata, Greenwood, Lingard, Amad, Shaw, Wan-Bissaka, Van de Beek, Matic, Elanga

Coming up in the Champions League

18:44 , Michael Jones

Ralf Rangnick takes charge of his first Champions League match as Manchester United’s interim boss.

United are hosting Young Boys at Old Trafford. They’ve already qualified for the last-16 and have secured top spot in the group so it’s an opportunity for the fringe players to show the new boss what they can do.

Dean Henderson and Donny van de Beek are confirmed starters and the full team news it expected soon.

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18:41 , Michael Jones

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Zenit 2 - 1 Chelsea

18:38 , Michael Jones

Timo Werner’s goal after just 1 minutes and 23 seconds is the fastest goal Chelsea have ever scored in the Champions League, overtaking Joh Terry’s 1:26 strike against FC Schalke in November 2014.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Zenit 2 - 1 Chelsea

18:35 , Michael Jones

In the other early kick off Juventus are beating Malmo 1-0 at half-time meaning that if things stay as they are Chelsea will finish second in the group with Juve securing top spot.

The Blues will need to score twice without reply if they want to finish at the top of Group H.

Half-time: Zenit 2 - 1 Chelsea

18:32 , Michael Jones

45+1 mins: A lot of action to talk about in this first half. Timo Werner sent Chelsea in front before two minutes were on the clock. Chelsea then seemingly lost their way and Zenit took advantage of a couple of mistakes to get in on goal. Claudinho netted the equaliser and SardarAzmoun sent the home side in front a couple of minutes later. There’s work for Chelsea to do here.

Zenit 2 - 1 Chelsea

18:30 , Michael Jones

43 mins: Save! Malcom brings the ball forward through the midfield and slots Azmoun in behind Christensen again. He takes the ball into the box and hits a left footed chip towards the back post. Kepa sticks out his left hand and palms the ball into the ground. A couple more inches to the right and that’s a third goal for Zenit. Good work from Kepa.

GOAL! Zenit 2 - 1 Chelsea (Azmoun, 41’)⚽️

18:26 , Michael Jones

41 mins: Turnaround! Barkley gives the ball away in the centre circle and a simple pass up to Azmoun plays him in behind. He spins off the shoulder of Christensen and sweeps into the box. Kepa comes out again but Azmoun shifts the ball away from the Chelsea keeper and softly guides a diagonal shot into the open goal.

GOAL! Zenit 1 - 1 Chelsea (Claudinho, 38’)⚽️

18:23 , Michael Jones

38 mins: Well, they’ve deserved that! Malcom drives the ball into the box and Saul fails to clear a loose pass. The ball spoons over to Azpilicueta who manages to knock it out as far as Douglas Santos. Claudinho makes a run from deep and gpes straight through the middle of the box. It looks like Sarr is playing him onside as Santos’ cross comes into the six-yard box. Claudinho throws himself at the ball and heads it past Kepa. The goalkeeper had no chance of stopping it.

Zenit 0 - 1 Chelsea

18:22 , Michael Jones

36 mins: Close! Azmoun makes another good run into the box and receives the pass. Christensen attempts to win back the ball but he’s shrugged off as the Zenit forward carries the ball to the byline. He cuts it back for Kuzyaev but Saul nips in front of the midfielder and works it clear for the Blues.

Zenit 0 - 1 Chelsea

18:20 , Michael Jones

33 mins: SAVE! Werner shakes off a challenge and drives the ball to the front edge of the box. He gives it to Lukaku on the right side of the area. The forward rolls the ball onto his left foot and flicks a lovely pass to the opposite post. Mount arrives and volleys the ball into the ground but Kerzhakov has the post covered and he keeps out the shot!

Zenit 0 - 1 Chelsea

18:16 , Michael Jones

30 mins: Chelsea win another corner that Barkley flicks towards the near post. Saul breaks off his marker and meets the ball in the air with a floaty header towards the far top corner. The ball doesn’t drop in time though and lands on the roof of the net.

Zenit 0 - 1 Chelsea

18:14 , Michael Jones

26 mins: SAVE! A nice pass from Hudson-Odoi sends Mount into space on the right side. His cross into the box is worked clear by Yaroslav Rakitskyy. The ball comes up to Claudinho who checks inside of Christensen and draws Malang Sarr out of position. Malcom flies into the now vacant space and Claudinho slots him the ball. He drives into the box and only has Kepa Arrizabalaga to beat. Chelsea’s goalkeeper comes charging off his line and closes the gap on the winger, enough so that when the shot comes he’s able to get a hand and a leg to it and deny Zenit an equaliser! Great goalkeeping.

Zenit 0 - 1 Chelsea

18:10 , Michael Jones

23 mins: Thomas Tuchel will probably be wanting Chelsea to retain the ball more. After their initial forays into the Zenit final third they’ve barely strung together a coherent attack. Kuzyaev gets in behind the Chelsea midfield and flies up the pitch. He sends a pass out to Malcom who carries the ball into the area and has a shot deflected out for a corner.

Zenit 0 - 1 Chelsea

18:07 , Michael Jones

20 mins: In the other Group H game of the night Juventus have taken the lead over Malmo courtesy of Moise Kean.

Christensen just catches the back of Malcom’s heel as his arrives late for a tackle. Zenit knock the free kick back towards their own goal before working forward on the opposite flank. Claudinho switches the ball back over to the left side where Wendel and Douglas Santos combine to get in behind Hudson-Odoi. Wendel’s looking for a cross into the box but Azpilicueta skips across and knocks the ball out of play.

Zenit 0 - 1 Chelsea

18:04 , Michael Jones

17 mins: Zenit are starting to find their feet in this game. They’re trying a few different things, a long ball here, a run down the wing there. They’re having more of the ball and pushing up the pitch. Claudinho brings it inside from the right and hits one from just outside the box. He curls it up and over the crossbar and isn’t pleased with the effort.

Zenit 0 - 1 Chelsea

17:59 , Michael Jones

14 mins: Zenit win a throw in on the right wing and send it to Claudinho. He whips a quick cross into the box for Sardar Azmoun but he has both Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen to deal with and the Chelsea defenders clear the ball easily enough.

Zenit 0 - 1 Chelsea

17:57 , Michael Jones

11 mins: Thomas Tuchel has taken this game as an opportunity to try out of few different things. Reece James is playing in central midfield and Saul Niguez is the left wingback. A long ball up to Lukaku is chested down to Mount who flies forward and slots a pass over to Saul on the overlap. He floats a first time cross towards Lukaku at the back post but the ball sails over his head and the attack dies down.

Zenit 0 - 1 Chelsea

17:54 , Michael Jones

8 mins: Wilmar Barrios goes from hero to zero for Zenit. Callum Hudson-Odoi attempts to shimmy around the defender but Barrios holds him off, steps in front and takes possession of the ball. He then tries to play out from the back but is penned in by Lukaku and has to kick the ball out for another Chelsea corner.

Zenit 0 - 1 Chelsea

17:51 , Michael Jones

5 mins: Christensen steps into midfield and attracts a bunch of Zenit players. He manages to poke the ball up to Barkley who runs it down the inside left channel and threads a heavy pass into the box. Werner sets off after it but he’s beaten to the ball by the goalkeeper and Chelsea’s attack breaks down.

GOAL! Zenit 0 - 1 Chelsea, (Werner, 2’)⚽️

17:47 , Michael Jones

2 mins: Glorious start for Chelsea! Ross Barkley swings the corner kick into the box. Andreas Christensen jumps high and flicks the ball to the back post where Timo Werner is all alone for the simplest of tap-ins. Chelsea take the lead.

Zenit 0 - 0 Chelsea

17:47 , Michael Jones

Kick off: There’s a mixed reception to most of the players taking the knee before Chelsea get the ball rolling. Reece James has started in central midfield alongside Ross Barkley. Saul Niguez makes a driving run into the box and gets a shot off forcing Mikhail Kerzhakov to parry the ball out for a corner.

Zenit vs Chelsea: Here come the teams

17:43 , Michael Jones

The players head out of the tunnel and onto the pitch in St. Petersburg. The Gazprom Arena will also host the final of this year’s Champions League and Chelsea will be hoping to make a return trip.

A reminder that Chelsea will top Group H if they match Juventus’ result against Malmo. A victory over Zenit St Petersburg will certainly help their cause.

Zenit vs Chelsea: Pre-match thoughts of Thomas Tuchel

17:41 , Michael Jones

In general we need fresh legs because we want to play a high-intense game and at the level we’re used to playing.

“The game today is not so much the problem. We had a day off and two days to prepare but we have to consider we play away and a late arrival on Thursday morning so we will lose sleep then play on Saturday. It is the moment to change and trust other players. We don’t want to push players.

“It was possible to start with Ruben Loftus-Cheek again but he has not played three consecutive matches at the intense level much last year. We miss Jorginho. It is very likely that Ruben will finish the game for us but very likely just the last 30 minutes.

“We need all of our players back. Romelu Lukaku gets minutes in his legs so lets see how long he can play. He is crucial to us of course. We need everyone fit.”

Zenit vs Chelsea: Thomas Tuchel yet to fully unlock clockwork Chelsea in title race defined by attacking football

17:36 , Michael Jones

After an upset like that at West Ham United, where Chelsea twice had leads overturned, it’s tempting to wonder whether an old truth has been overturned.

Defences may win you games, but it is attacks that win titles.

That may seem a curious point when Chelsea’s defeat primarily came from “too many big mistakes”, as Thomas Tuchel put it, but that is what happens when it feels like you are always just doing enough; never quite doing real damage. They take advantage of errors rather than really force them.

Tuchel yet to fully unlock clockwork Chelsea in title race defined by attack

Zenit vs Chelsea: Warm ups underway

17:32 , Michael Jones

The warm ups are underway at the Gazprom Stadium. Kick off is just 15 minutes away.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Zenit vs Chelsea: Zenit unbeaten at home against English teams

17:25 , Michael Jones

Zenit St Petersburg are hoping for a third successive home win in European competition against an English side.

Their previous victories were a 1-0 win vs Bradford City in the Intertoto Cup in July 2000 and a 2-0 victory over Liverpool in the Europa League in February 2013.

Can they make it three from three against the Blues tonight?

Zenit vs Chelsea: Mateo Kovacic: Chelsea midfielder tests positive for Covid-19

17:22 , Michael Jones

Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic has tested positive for Covid-19 and will miss the club’s upcoming Champions League fixture against Zenit St Petersburg.

Thomas Tuchel confirmed that Kovacic, who had returned to full training after suffering a hamstring injury in October, had returned a positive test result this morning.

Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic tests positive for Covid-19

Zenit vs Chelsea: Tuchel on Chelsea’s bouncebackability

17:17 , Michael Jones

Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea are hoping to get back to winning ways tonight after losing 3-2 to West Ham at the weekend. He believes no major changes are needed for the team but that his players have to sharpen up and improve on the smaller details. He said:

Like I said after the game and when we analysed the data and performance, I don’t think it’s necessary to ask the big questions right now,

“We need to step up in details and do our details to our standards. We need to do this on the highest level and do it relentlessly.

“No matter what the result is, what the occasion is or how big the adversity is. We have some space where we can improve in the details but it is not about the big picture in the moment.”

Zenit vs Chelsea: Loftus-Cheek ready to play his part

17:14 , Michael Jones

Ruben Loftus-Cheek has made 15 appearances for Chelsea this season and is relishing the opportunity to play more for the Blues. With N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho all out this evening Loftus-Cheek says he is ready to go should he get on the pitch tonight:

There’s a lot of good players. We might have a few injuries and I might be put in. I had to be ready and I have been ready. I have had to step up as an individual,

"I’m very grateful to be fit. I’m enjoying it a lot and it comes with different duties. I’m ready to play and ready to play wherever. I’m playing a lot. You never know how football is going to go."

Zenit vs Chelsea: Everyone gets a goal

17:11 , Michael Jones

Chelsea have had 14 different goal scorers in the Champions League under Thomas Tuchel; the most of any team in the competition since his first game in February 2021.

The Blues’ top scorers in this period have scored two goals each (Kai Havertz, Mason Mount, Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Jorginho).

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Zenit vs Chelsea: Thomas Tuchel confident Chelsea can cope without ‘Superman’ N’Golo Kante

17:05 , Michael Jones

Thomas Tuchel has insisted Chelsea can cope without injured “Superman” N’Golo Kante.

World Cup-winning France midfielder Kante has struggled with a string of frustrating injuries this season, but an unfazed Tuchel believes there is no link between the short-term concerns.

Mateo Kovacic will also miss Wednesday’s Champions League trip to Zenit after testing positive for Covid-19, and will be a big doubt for Saturday’s Premier League clash with Leeds at Stamford Bridge.

Thomas Tuchel confident Chelsea can cope without ‘Superman’ N’Golo Kante

Zenit vs Chelsea: Defence is key for Blues

17:00 , Michael Jones

Chelsea come into tonight’s game with a ‘second string’ back three although Cesar Azpilicueta is highly experienced and Andreas Christensen is pushing for a first team place, but 22-year-old Malang Sarr is still finding his way Chelsea.

Despite this they should still have enough talent to keep Zenit at bay, Chelsea are on a run of three Champions League wins without conceding and could recored a fourth winning clean sheet in a row for the first time in the competition.

Zenit vs Chelsea: A record breaking win

16:52 , Michael Jones

No English team has won in St Petersburg but the Chelsea have good memories of travelling to Russia. They have picked up victories on three previous visits to the country in this competition, most recently a 4-0 win at Krasnodar in October 2020.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Zenit vs Chelsea: Last time out

16:47 , Michael Jones

Zenit St Petersburg and Chelsea have only met in competitive fixtures once and that was back in September this year when the sides clashed at Stamford Bridge for their first Champions League game of the season.

On that occassion Romelu Lukaku scored a 69th minute goal meeting a cross from Cesar Azpilicueta to head the ball into the bottom left-hand corner and give the Blues a 1-0 victory.

Travelling away from home with the knowledge that qualification for the knockout stages is already secure may be to Chelsea’s disadvantage this evening - just ask Manchester City who lost to away to RB Leipzig last night but stll won Group A.

Zenit vs Chelsea: Antonio Rudiger set for Chelsea exit with Real Madrid leading race

16:41 , Michael Jones

Antonio Rudiger is moving closer to leaving Chelsea as a free agent next summer, with Real Madrid now leading the race to sign the 28-year-old.

Rudiger’s brother, Sahr Senesie, who is also his agent, met with Madrid a few weeks ago to discuss possible terms, with an informal agreement between the parties understood to be in place, although nothing has been signed as of yet.

Antonio Rudiger set for Chelsea exit with Real Madrid leading race

Zenit vs Chelsea: Team changes

16:37 , Michael Jones

Thomas Tuchel makes eight changes to the Chelsea starting XI that lost to West Ham at the weekend. Mason Mount, Reece James and Andreas Christensen are the three players to keep their places.

Kepa Arrizabalaga returns in goal with Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger both rested in favour of Cesar Azpilicueta and Malang Sarr. In midfield are Ross Barkley and Saul Niguez with Callum Hudson-Odoi slotting in at wingback.

Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku join Mount in the forward line.

Zenit vs Chelsea: Line-ups

16:32 , Michael Jones

Zenit XI: M. Kerzhakov, Karavaev, Barrios, Lovren, Rakitskyy, Douglas Santos, Kuzyaev, Wendel, Malcom, Azmoun, Claudinho

Chelsea XI: Arrizabalaga, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Sarr, James, Saul Niguez, Barkley, Hudson-Odoi, Mount, Lukaku, Werner

Zenit St Petersburg vs Chelsea: Tuchel on Chelsea’s form

16:28 , Michael Jones

For their high standards Chelsea have seemingly entered a little dip in form. Their last three games have seen them draw with Manchester United, struggle against Watford yet ultimately win, and then lose to West Ham at the weekend.

Thomas Tuchel was asked whether he was worried about this potential drop in form and he says he has the ambition to turn things around:

Maybe it seems to you like this but it actually does not [feel like that]. We dropped some points against Manchester United and we found a solution to win at Watford and it was a freak shot at West Ham.

"We’ve had this before, we have lost and we don’t like it. I feel it personally. I have a certain anger and ambition to try to turn things around."

Zenit St Petersburg vs Chelsea: Recent results

16:21 , Michael Jones

Chelsea have won four of their five Champions League group matches including a 4-0 demolition over Juventus on Matchday Five at Stamford Bridge.

They should finish top of Group H with a victory over Zenit St Petersburg tonight - unless Juventus rack up a cricket score against Malmo - but they come into the game on the back of a bruising 3-2 loss to West Ham in the Premier League.

Thomas Tuchel spoke after that defeat about a welling up of anger that he feels when the Blues don’t win and he’ll be wanting to get Chelsea back to winning ways tonight.

Zenit St Petersburg vs Chelsea: Early team news

16:16 , Michael Jones

Chelsea take on Zenit St Petersburg this evening and need to match Juventus’ result against Malmo if they want to finish at the top of Group H. Thomas Tuchel will have to decide whether to rest key players or play a strong line-up in order to try and win the group.

Chelsea are without N’Golo Kante who is sidelined and Mateo Kovacic who is isolating following a positive Covid test. Jorginho has not travelled with the squad and will be rested.

With qualification for the last-16 already secure Kepa Arrizabalaga may start in goal for the Blues with Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner in contention to start. Kai Havertz took a knock in the match against West Ham but has been training with the squad and could also feature.

15:07 , Karl Matchett

Ahead of the match, Zenit boss Sergei Semak has been praising the cohesive nature of Thomas Tuchel’s “well-oiled” Chelsea system.

Chelsea will travel to face Zenit in St Petersburg on Wednesday, where the Blues can seal top spot in Champions League Group H.

If the Premier League side equal or better Juventus’ result against Malmo they will secure first place and a potentially more favourable last-16 draw. Semak was asked about some of the star names in the team but pointed to the well-rounded nature of the Blues’ performances.

“You’re talking about individual players but I would like to point out the importance of the system in general, they are like a German machine, well-oiled,” he said.

“Every person on the pitch knows what to do and how to do it.

“So I would like to refrain from talking about individual qualities, and concentrate more on Chelsea as a team.”

Tuchel runs ‘well-oiled’ system at Chelsea, says Zenit boss

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