Chelsea return to Champions League action this evening with a trip to Russia to face Krasnodar, and they will be keen to pick up all three points following last week’s goalless draw with Sevilla.
The hosts will also be looking to secure a win after drawing with Rennes last week. While Frank Lampard’s side are favourites, the Blues can’t afford to underestimate the Russians.
The top spot in Group E of the Champions League is expected to be between them and Sevilla, but failure to win tonight could come at a price going forward in the competition.
Chelsea head into the game on the back of another goalless draw at the weekend against Manchester United, but they will fancy their chances of earning victory tonight despite just a win in their last six games across all competitions.
Lampard has decided to hand veteran Brazilian centre-back Thiago Silva a much-deserved rest, leaving him out of tonight’s matchday squad.
Second-choice goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and Billy Gilmour are out injured, while Marcos Alonso is suspended for the game due to a three-game suspension for picking up a red card in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie against Bayern Munich in February.
Krasnodar will be without wingers Wanderson and Remy Cabella, while Viktor Claesson, Dmitriy Stotskiy and Sergey Petrov remain on the sidelines. Ari, Marcus Berg and Kristoffer Olsson are also not fully fit heading into the clash, and a late fitness test is expected to be made on them.
Antonio Rudiger is yet to play for Chelsea this term but is now in contention to make his first start this evening.
He could be paired alongside Andreas Christensen, with Reece James and Ben Chilwell featuring at right-back and left-back respectively.
Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante could be paired in the middle of the park, with the trio of Mason Mount, Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz playing behind Tammy Abraham.
Predicted Chelsea XI
James, Christensen, Rudiger, Chilwell
Mount, Ziyech, Havertz
Predicted Krasnodar XI
Smolnikov, Sorokin, Kaio, Chernov
Suleymanov, Vilhena, Gazinskiy, Ramirez