Lukaku starts | Expected Chelsea line-up vs Zenit St Petersburg
Chelsea face Zenit St Petersburg on the road in their final Champions League group stage game tomorrow evening.
The Blues are currently ahead of Juventus for the top spot on the head-to-head record. They registered a stunning 4-0 win over the Bianconeri last month.
Despite the result, they may need another three points to finish top of their group, if Juventus go on to beat Malmo. Hence, Thomas Tuchel may pick his best side.
Here is how the reigning European champions could line up against Zenit:
Goalkeeper: Edouard Mendy had a poor showing in the 3-2 Premier League defeat to West Ham United on Saturday. He conceded a first half penalty before misjudging the flight of Arthur Masuaku’s late winning strike for the Hammers. The Senegal international has rarely made mistakes since his arrival last year, and he will be keen to redeem himself.
Defence: Tuchel won’t have the services of Trevoh Chalobah once again with a hamstring injury. The Chelsea boss chose to play Andreas Christensen, Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger as his back three at the weekend. He may consider resting Silva, who has played in all five games since the international break. Cesar Azpilicueta would most likely replace him.
Marcos Alonso sustained a back problem last weekend, but he has been deemed fit. The Spaniard appears set to continue at left wing-back with Ben Chilwell out with a long-term knee injury. Meanwhile, Reece James has been an undisputed starter in the right wing-back position for several weeks, and he is widely expected to continue.
Midfield: N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic have already been ruled out by Tuchel. The latter has suffered a further setback after testing positive for COVID-19. Alongside the duo, Jorginho is set to miss tomorrow’s game with a back concern so Chelsea are light in midfield.
Saul Niguez has been hugely disappointing since his summer arrival, and he was recently substituted midway through the Watford game. Despite this, he appears likely to partner Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the centre of the park unless Tuchel chooses to play Mason Mount or Ross Barkley in the role.
Attack: Mount has been in excellent form for Chelsea in recent games. He has bagged a goal and an assist in each of his last two league outings, and appears likely to occupy one of the attacking midfield positions. Hakim Ziyech has equally impressed since last month. The Moroccan has made a goal contribution in four of the five games since the international break, and should accompany Mount.
Kai Havertz suffered an injury against the Hammers which saw him substituted at the interval. He has returned to full training, but one of Romelu Lukaku or Timo Werner could start up front. Tuchel may go with the former. The Belgian was ineffective after his half-time introduction last weekend. He will be keen to prove a point, having not scored for the Blues since September.
Chelsea line-up (3-4-2-1) vs Zenit St Petersburg
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