Three positives to take from Chelsea’s underwhelming 3-3 draw with Zenit

Chelsea played out a scrappy 3-3 draw against Zenit St. Petersburg away in Russia last night, a result that saw the Blues lose top spot in group H heading into the champions league round of 16.

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Chelsea took an early lead under two minutes through Timo Werner but Zenit scored twice in four minutes later in the first half to head into halftime with a 2-1 lead. Chelsea equalized through Romelu Lukaku before Timo Werner once again put the Blues ahead but the home side responded once again as they equalized in the dying stages of the game.

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Though it was a very poor game from a Chelsea perspective, there were still a few positives to pick from how the match went.

Strikers Firing Again:

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This was a major highlight in last night’s match. The Chelsea strikers got on the score sheet after a while as all three goals were gotten by Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku.

Lukaku had gone over 10 games without a goal for Chelsea heading into tonight but that drought was broken following a nice combination with strike partner Timo Werner to score Chelsea’s second goal of the match in the 62nd minute. Great one for his confidence heading forward and it could well be the start of some great form.

It was also a good game for Timo Werner as he got involved in all three Chelsea goals getting a brace and an assist as he became the first Chelsea player to both score an assist in a UCL game since he last did against Krasnodar in October 2020. Great one for his confidence no doubt.

Players Rested, No Fresh Injury Concerns:

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Injuries have plagued the Chelsea team lately with several key players ruled out injured. Hence, Thomas Tuchel’s choice to deploy a very weak lineup against Zenit was very much understandable as it could have been a risk to have any of the remaining key players injured heading into the packed schedule for the festive season.

It seemed like a gamble that didn’t pay off as Chelsea didn’t get the much needed win to top the group but certainly, Thomas Tuchel would have a very fresh squad to choose from against Leeds on Saturday as the Blues can’t afford to lose any more ground in the premier league title race.

Kepa To An Extent Showed He Could Fill Mendy’s Void In January:

A lot of people might say Kepa Arrizabalaga could have done better with Zenit’s late equalizer as he’s repeatedly conceded such goals many times but huge credit must go to the Spaniard because he literally kept Chelsea in the game until the equalizer and the supposed winner. Bar Kepa’s crucial saves Chelsea could have easily received a trashing in the hands of Zenit St. Petersburg.

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It’s no longer news that Senegalese goalkeeper Edouard Mendy would be unavailable in January due to the African Cup of Nations and that would count as a huge loss for Chelsea but Kepa showed to an extent last night that he can be trusted in Mendy’s absence. Just a little more defensive organization and a few key details and Chelsea wouldn’t have to worry about any goalkeeping crisis in Edouard Mendy’s absence.