Reigning Champions League winners Chelsea kick off their Champions League Group H campaign on Tuesday night at Stamford Bridge against Russian Premier League champions Zenit St. Petersburg. The Blues are aiming to repeat as Champions League winners after defeating Manchester City last season 1-0 in the final.
Chelsea vs Zenit St Petersburg Match Preview
Chelsea are playing their best football under Thomas Tuchel and look like one of the strongest teams in Europe right now. The Blues are coming off of a 3-0 thrashing of Aston Villa at home over the weekend in the Premier League. They are joint first in the Premier League table after four games.
Zenit St. Petersburg go into matchday 1 of the Champions League unbeaten in the Russian top flight. The Sky Blues are unbeaten in seven straight matches in the Russian Premier League winning five and drawing twice. Zenit St. Petersburg are on a two-match winning streak on the domestic front and go into Tuesday night’s clash in London following a 3-1 win over Akhmat.
Chelsea and Zenit St. Petersburg have not played in European competition previously. With the Russian Premier League’s poor performances in European competition over the last few seasons, the division has dropped to 10th in the UEFA coefficient ratings. Just three of the club’s five teams that started out in European competition are still playing in one of UEFA’s three tournaments.
Chelsea vs Zenit St. Petersburg Betting Odds
Chelsea are heavy favourite going into matchday 1 on Tuesday night versus Zenit St. Petersburg. The Blues are on such a roll and playing their strongest football since Tuchel’s arrive. In fact, this may be the strongest Chelsea team we have seen since Jose Mourinho’s first reign as manager in the mid-2000s.
Leading bookies’ best betting odds for Chelsea to win at full-time against Zenit St. Petersburg are at 23/100. Chelsea have outscored opponents 9-1 in the Premier League this season. The Blues have not conceded a goal from open play as Liverpool’s goal in the teams’ massive clash a few weeks back came from the penalty spot.
Chelsea won the UEFA Super Cup prior to the Premier League’s kick off on penalties against Villarreal. The teams drew 1-1 at full-time. Zenit St. Petersburg go into matchday 1 of Group H at the best betting odds of 18/1.
Zenit have not reached the knockout stage of the Champions League since 2015-16. The team’s last two Champions League campaigns in 2019-20 and 2020-21 saw the team fail to emerge from the group stage. The teams are at the best betting odds of 6/1 to draw at full-time. Can Zenit get out of London with any points at all?
Chelsea vs Zenit St. Petersburg Team News
Tuchel has three players on the Chelsea injury list going into the game. Forward Christian Pulisic is ruled out of the game with an ankle injury. He will miss the game with a view toward playing against Tottenham Hotspur in the league at the weekend.
Midfielder N’Golo Kante is likely to return from an ankle injury. Kante has been fighting a number of leg injuries over the last 12 to 18 months. Centre-back Thiago Silva is a slight doubt due to a fitness issue. He played at the weekend versus Aston Villa in defence. Tuchel could rest the veteran centre-back to play him from the start against Spurs on Premier League matchday 5.
Defender Reece James is available for selection after missing the Aston Villa game due to suspension. Meanwhile, striker Romelu Lukaku now has three goals in three games since re-joining Chelsea.
Zenit St. Petersburg coach Sergei Semak will be without midfielder Magomed Ozdoyev. He has a knee ligament injury. Centre-back Dmitri Chistyakov may miss the game due to an ankle issue that hasn’t fully healed. Forward Sardar Azmoun and Aleksandr Erokhin have tallied 10 goals combined in the Russian Premier League this term.
Chelsea vs Zenit St. Petersburg H2H
Tuesday night’s match will be the first meeting between Chelsea and Zenit St. Petersburg. The Blues are in great form but so are Zenit St. Petersburg. However, the quality of teams that Chelsea have played are far and above more than any club Zenit St. Petersburg have played in 2021-22.
Chelsea have outscored opponents 9-1 this season with the only goal conceded coming from the penalty spot from Liverpool. Zenit St. Petersburg have outscored opponents 16-8 in seven Russian Premier League matches.
Just once this season, Zenit have kept a clean sheet. Chelsea have kept three clean sheets in four league matches this term.
Chelsea vs Zenit St. Petersburg Prediction
Chelsea to win to nil @ 8/11 - BET NOW
Chelsea have won three of their four league matches to nil this season. The Blues have been brilliant in defence conceding 0.25 goals per game. Despite Zenit’s form in the Russian Premier League, do not expect them to play at the same level against Chelsea on Tuesday night. Our betting tips prediction is for Chelsea to win to nil against Zenit St. Petersburg.
Romelu Lukaku to score anytime @ 8/13 - BET NOW
Romelu Lukaku has been brilliant since returning to Stamford Bridge. He has completely changed Chelsea in the final third. Now, with the game ticking down and the score level, Chelsea have a player that can score a winner. He has three goals in three games in the league He averages a goal every 90 minutes and our betting tips prediction is for Lukaku to score anytime.
Over 2.5 goals scored @ 4/6 - BET NOW
Two of Chelsea’s four Premier League games in 2021-22 ended with over 2.5 goals scored. The Blues are coming off of a 3-0 win against Aston Villa and are hitting on all cylinders. Four of Zenit St. Petersburg’s seven games have finished with over 2.5 goals scored. The Sky Blues are scoring goals on the domestic front with 16 scored. However, Semak’s team has allowed eight goals in seven games.
Our betting tips prediction is for Chelsea to win to nil with over 2.5 goals scored, just like what the Blues did to Aston Villa at the weekend. The Champions League will be a rude awakening for Zenit.
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