As regards the UEFA Champions League fixtures, Chelsea and Zenit will be locking horns together tomorrow night at Gazprom Arena. The Blues have already made it to the round of 16, but they will definitely play to win against the Russian team, so as to avoid losing back-to-back in all competitions.
According to Thomas Tuchel, the likes of Mateo Kovacic, N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Trevoh Chalobah aren’t available, because they are all injured. Having said that, there’s a particular way Chelsea could lineup without them, and they will still be able to win against Zenit, so as to continue leading their group-stage. Aside from that, the Blues need to rest some players, in order to prepare heavily for Leeds United’s clash in the Premier League.
The likes of Antonio Rüdiger and Edouard Mendy deserve a rest after playing back-to-back games for Chelsea last month, while Kai Havertz cannot played 90 minutes yet. As a result, the formation below could be Thomas Tuchel’s starting XI tomorrow, as the lineup is able and capable of defeating the Russian side, even though the Blues have already qualified for the knock-out stage.
Kepa Arrizabalaga is expected to start against Zenit tomorrow, as Edouard Mendy needs a rest after his performance against West Ham United on Saturday. Without a doubt, the Spanish goalie is brilliant and talented enough to keep a clean sheet, and deny Zenit many clear chances.
Apparently, the likes of Thiago Silva and Antonio Rüdiger are expected to rest ahead of the Leeds United match. As a result, César Azpilicueta (RCB), Andreas Christensen (CB) and Malang Sarr (LCB). Of course, the French youngster has been balling in the UEFA Champions League this season, particularly against Malmö and Zenit in the first-leg. Therefore, he’s capable of controlling the defense line alongside his teammates at the back.
Since Ben Chilwell is still not available, Marcos Alonso will replace him as a left-wing-back and Recce James as a right-wing-back. Obviously, the two players will play offensively and defensively on the lines, so as to help the attackers in front. Based on his recent performances, James has improved massively, so he will connect very well with Callum Hudson-Odoi up front, and Alonso will do the same thing with Pulisic.
Of course, there will be no Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante at Gazprom Arena tomorrow, due to injury issues. With that being said, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Saul Níguez will play as central-midfielders, because they have the ability to be both defensive and offensive on the pitch. In this situation, the Atletico Madrid’s loanee will focus on laying passes, while the Englishman will use his dribbling skills to push forward, and create chances for the players up front.
Without a doubt, Romelu Lukaku isn’t match-fit yet, that’s why he always comes on in the second-half. In order to avoid injury relapse, Callum Hudson-Odoi will play as a right-winger, Christian Pulisic as a left-winger and Timo Werner will anchor the striking role. Frankly, the German forward deserves to start tomorrow, as he’s able to replace Kai Havertz up front. Both wingers are dangerous dribblers, so they will use their skills to unbalance Zenit’s defense line, while Werner moves forward to score goals.
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