Chelsea will be looking to secure top spot in UEFA Champions League Group H when they take on Zenit St. Petersburg.
Zenit St. Petersburg played to a 1-1 draw in their last Champions League match and have gone straight into the UEFA Europa League after the group stage. This is the third time in a row that the Russians have been eliminated in the group stage of Europe’s most elite competition.
Zenit is currently unbeaten in its last five matches in all competitions. In recent Russian Premier League matches, there was a 2-0 win against CSKA Moscow and a 2-2 draw against FC Rostov.
Zenit are top of the table and face second-placed Dynamo Moscow on Sunday. Sergei Semak’s men want to pull away from the chasing pack.
But first they want to make life as difficult for Chelsea FC as they did in the first Group H game at Stamford Bridge. Romelu Lukaku scored the winning goal for the Blues, but it could have been a very frustrating evening for Thomas Tuchel’s men.
Chelsea looked a little shaky in recent weeks. Some glaring individual mistakes have caused them to falter. In their last Premier League game against London rivals West Ham, they gave away a one-goal lead and lost 3-2 on Saturday.
They led 2-1 at halftime, but the Hammers hit back and Chelsea were simply overwhelmed in the second 45 minutes. Tuchel is hoping for a reaction from his team, which has slipped to third place in the Premier League table.
Zenit St Petersburg vs Chelsea Head-to-Head and Key Numbers
- Zenit St Petersburg and Chelsea have clashed just once so far and that was in the corresponding fixture this season. Chelsea won the game 1-0.
- Zenit St Petersburg have won both of their home games against English opponents so far. They beat Bradford City 1-0 in 2000 in the Intertoto Cup and Liverpool 2-0 in the 2012-13 UEFA Europa League.
- Chelsea have played three away games against Russian opponents. They have won and kept cleansheets in all three of those games.
- The game against Chelsea will be Zenit St Petersburg’s 200th European game. They will become the only second Russian club to reach the milestone after Spartak Moscow.
Zenit St. Petersburg vs Chelsea prediction
For Chelsea, there is more at stake here. For Zenit, nothing is at stake as they will enter the Europa League regardless of the result. The Blues are looking to finish first in their group. Tuchel will also expect a reaction from his players after the 3-2 defeat to West Ham United at the weekend.
Chelsea will enter with a strong team and will most likely take home all three points.
Prediction: Zenit St. Petersburg 1-2 Chelsea