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Chelsea team news: N’Golo Kanté is close, but we’re playing it safe with his return. Christian Pulisic is not close. Fortunately, they’re the only two players out, with those who got a rest over the weekend following international break exertions (Mason Mount, for example) surely set to return to the lineup before the weekend’s big derby at Spurs. The expanded bench (12 players) should also see a few fringe players pop into our view, however briefly.
It’s been a good and unbeaten start to the season, with one trophy in the book already, even, but this is where the grind and the fixture congestion begins. It’s about to get serious!
Zenit St Petersburg team news: Zenit won their third title on the bounce last season and are once again leading the Russian Premier League after seven unbeaten rounds (5 wins, 2 draws). In fact, they haven’t lost a match in any competition since early March. They may have come out of Pot 3 in the draw, but they won’t be pushovers.
Iranian international Sardar Azmoun leads the team in goalscoring, though veteran forward Artem Dzyuba, who’s reached the 20-goal mark each of the past two seasons, is unlikely to stay scoreless. Zenit are chock-full of experienced players in fact, including defender Yaroslay Rakitskiy, who played against Chelsea in the aforementioned 2012-13 group stages with Shakhar (and beat us in one of the two games, even).
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