Zenit St Petersburg 3-3 Chelsea, Champions League: post-match reaction, ratings

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Zenit St Petersburg 3-3 Chelsea, Champions League: post-match reaction, ratings


An early Blues score, with Timo Werner scoring the Blues first goal by tapping a corner two minutes after kick-off, would be a good way to set the tone for the rest of the game. At the start it kind of looked like a return to form for the Blues, where we dominated the chances while the hosts of Zenit St Petersburg, as much as they tried, could not succeed thanks to a solid defense made. by the trio of Malang Sarr, Andreas Christensen and César Azpilicueta.

Speaking of roster changes, there were several in Thomas Tuchel’s starting XI. Kepa Arrizabalaga was between the posts and the defensive flanks had Saúl and Callum Hudson-Odoi respectively on the left and right. Our central midfielders were Ross Barkley (!) And Reece James (!!!), while the attacking trio had Timo Werner, Romelu Lukaku and Mason Mount in charge.

Most fans would probably appreciate it if Chelsea had a little more possession in the first half to extend their lead and be a little more comfortable, as a one-goal lead is the thinnest you can get. But we also seemed comfortable letting Zenit have the ball and letting the time run its course, while keeping the work going on defense and Kepa – who made a great intervention on a Malcom breakthrough to keep Zenit out. distance.

Too bad Zenit started to believe the equalizer would come, as they got closer and closer to scoring their own goal. They ultimately made it through Claudinho, following a massive defensive failure that left the Brazilian striker free to attack the ball into the box.

A second would eventually arrive… but in favor of the hosts. A gift to the midfielder and the failure to set up an appropriate offside trap by Christensen, had center forward Sardar Azmoun one-on-one against Kepa. He easily beat the shooter to put the hosts in the lead.

Changes might have been needed for Chelsea to equalize and reverse the scorecard disadvantage. These wouldn’t come from the bench, but rather from the team trying to keep more possession to themselves and work their way through a compact Zenit side.

We would find the breakthrough through the combination of Barkley, Werner and Lukaku. The first two played a nice one-two to free the German striker into Zenit’s box, with Lukaku just behind him on the support run. The decision to follow Werner would bode well for the Belgian center-forward, as he entered the scoring with our second goal of the day.

Now back to equality, Zenit would come out of its shell and resume the attack. They continued to force Kepa to work, but nothing was as glaring as their scoring chances in the first half.

But it was Chelsea who had the venom to score another goal, and thus win the three full points of St. Petersburg. A great combination between Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic near the box, and the American winger finds a nice pass to Werner in the box. The German clears his marker out of the frame and puts a nice finish to put it at 3-2 for the Blues.

… Or so we thought. A last minute equalizer from Magomed Ozdoev put us back to square one.

It happens!

Carefree.


  • It’s an almost entirely different formation than the one that faced Juventus at bridge. The only player to play in both matches is Reece James – as a central midfielder!
  • The replacements are Christian Pulisic for Callum Hudson-Odoi, Hakim Ziyech for Ross Barkley, Kai Havertz for Romelu Lukaku and Marcos Alonso for Saúl Ñíguez.
  • That central midfielder pairing with Barkley and James could have been a good idea on paper. In practice during the first half… oof.
  • To be fair, things got better as the game progressed, especially on James’ side. It’s good to have this option in the future!
  • Kepa with the big saves to keep us alive in the game. Good for him, even if ideally he would only be a simple spectator today.
  • Saúl is on the pitch and he doesn’t look bad at left-back. Although he left Atlético no doubt to avoid playing outside the central positions, the flank has suited him so far.
  • Next stop: Leeds at Stamford Bridge, for the Premier League.
  • KTBFFH !

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