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Chelsea vs. Zenit St. Petersburg Predictions, Betting Tips and Previews
14 September 2021
Stamford Bridge – Champions League
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel kisses the Champions League trophy (Susana Vera/AP/Shutterstock)
Champions League winners Chelsea get their title defence underway as they take on Zenit St. Petersburg at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday. The Blues have had an unbeaten start to the season and are 1.25 to begin their European campaign with a win in Spin Sports’ football betting online.
Whatever happens in this game, history will be made on Tuesday. These teams have not met in competitive football before, with Chelsea boasting the more impressive European pedigree following their second Champions League triumph earlier this year.
With Reece James suspended in the Premier League, he may be handed a start over Callum Hudson-Odoi on Tuesday. Romelu Lukaku is reportedly struggling with a minor injury and could be rested this week, while Saúl Ñíguez could be handed his first start in midfield.
Sergei Semak is expected to field his strongest XI on Tuesday, with Magomed Ozdoev the only absentee for the away side. Summer signing Claudinho has made his way into the manager’s consideration, but it remains to be seen whether he will start over the experienced Artem Dzyuba at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea vs. Zenit St. Petersburg Preview and Predictions
Chelsea take on Zenit St. Petersburg in the ’Branislav Ivanovic derby’ in the Champions League on Tuesday. Thomas Tuchel has a lot to live up to having won the competition last season and will be keen to get his second European campaign at Stamford Bridge off to a good start.
Zenit are no easy opponents, however, and currently top the Russian Premier League thanks to an unbeaten start to their season. The other advantage for Semak’s side is that their league kicked off at the end of July, meaning the away side have already got six games under their belt this term. Furthermore, due to Russia’s limited involvement in Euro 2020, the manager has the majority of his first team squad available.
For the away side, any points on Tuesday would be absolutely fundamental to their chances of progressing to the knockout stages. The trip to Stamford Bridge is largely expected to be the most difficult of their group stage fixtures, meaning any result would be positive.
In the home dugout, on the other hand, anything other than a win would be largely disappointing. With Juventus considered the team to beat in Group H, Chelsea will want to be level on points with their Italian opponents before their trip to Turin.
The Blues have impressed in their opening three fixtures and will be keen to get off to a good start. The only question remains whether the champions of Europe can hold their nerve.
Under 2.5 goals scored at 2.30
The Blues were far from high-scoring in Europe last season, instead prioritising defensive solidity.
Chelsea to win to nil at 1.95
The Blues were clean sheet masters last year and will look for another win to nil.