Chelsea will be relieved to turn their attention away from the Premier League when they travel to Zenit for the final Champions League group stage game of the season.
Having underwhelmed domestically in recent weeks, Chelsea’s focus will now be on securing top spot in Group H. Thomas Tuchel’s men are already through but must match Juventus’ result against bottom side Malmo if they want to finish on top.
Here’s all you need to know about the game.
When is kick off? Wednesday 7 December, 17:45 (GMT)
Where is the match being played? Gazprom Arena
TV channel/live stream? BT Sport 3 (UK), Paramount+ (US)
Highlights? BT Sport YouTube channel
Referee? Serdar Gözübüyük
VAR? Jochem Kamphuis
Sergei Semak doesn’t have too many issues to worry about. The only fitness issue is with goalkeeper Stanislav Kritsyuk, who remains sidelined with a foot injury.
Centre-back Dmitri Chistyakov is also suspended, which will likely force the boss to shift to a four-man defence rather than his preferred three-at-the-back setup.
Unlike Zenit, Chelsea have a whole host of issues to deal with. Tuchel has confirmed that Ben Chilwell, Trevoh Chalobah, N’Golo Kante and Jorginho are all injured, while Mateo Kovacic has tested positive for Covid-19 just hours after returning from a hamstring injury.
Kai Havertz has been training after shaking off the injury he picked up against West Ham, while left-back Marcos Alonso is also expected to be fit.
You can read Chelsea’s predicted lineup here.
The meeting between these two earlier in the season was actually the first time they have ever faced off, with Romelu Lukaku’s second-half header enough to hand Chelsea the three points.
The Blues were in Russia last season, when Frank Lampard’s men romped to an emphatic 4-0 win over Krasnodar, but they do not have a perfect record when it comes to travelling to that part of the world.
Back in April 2013, reigning European champions Chelsea went to Rubin Kazan and fell 3-2 in the Europa League quarter-finals, with a strong side only avoiding elimination thanks to their 3-1 victory in the home leg the week before.
Chelsea haven’t been great over the past few weeks, but they haven’t been bad either. Individual errors have proven incredibly costly and Tuchel has been working tirelessly to eradicate it.
He’ll expect a result here against a Zenit side who are already out of the competition and, barring a 12-goal swing in Malmo’s favour, are already preparing for another shot at Europa League glory.
Injuries will disrupt Chelsea’s fluidity, but they should have enough about them to get the result they need here.
Prediction: Zenit 0-2 Chelsea