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Tuchel’s frustration with Saul, Werner makes history: 4 things spotted during Zenit vs Chelsea

Chelsea missed out on the chance to qualify for the Champions League knockout stage as Group H winners after they were held to a 3-3 draw against Zenit.

Werner makes history

Having not featured in Chelsea’s previous two matches, Timo Werner was a certainty to start in St. Petersburg and Thomas Tuchel paired him alongside Romelu Lukaku, back in the starting XI for the first time since October 20.

And the German forward got the Blues off to the perfect start. A burst forward from Saul Niguez earned Chelsea an early corner and Ross Barkley’s near-post delivery was glanced on by Andreas Christensen.

Werner, who was stood a yard from goal, simply couldn’t miss and he tapped home to put Tuchel’s side ahead inside the opening two minutes.

Unfortunately, Chelsea didn’t build on that positive start as Zenit mounted a comeback and went into the break ahead after goals from Claudinho and Sardar Azmoun.

Tuchel will have wanted a reaction from his side. He somewhat got it as Romelu Lukaku equalised and then Werner fired Chelsea ahead.

However, in second-half stoppage time, Magomed Ozdoyev rifled home to ensure the game ended as a draw. As a result, the Blues finished second behind Juventus in Group H.

Werner was able to write his name into Chelsea history at least. His opening goal – scored after one minute and 23 seconds – is the fastest ever Chelsea have netted in the Champions League.

Abramovich attends

For one reason or another, the days of Roman Abramovich attending every Chelsea game are long gone. The Russian very much tends to keep a distance now and the day-to-day running of the club is overseen by Marina Granovskaia.

Abramovich was in St. Petersburg to watch his side, though, and it is the second Blues game he has taken in during the last fortnight.

The 55-year-old ended his three-year hiatus from Stamford Bridge at the end of last month when he attended the 1-1 draw against Manchester United.

Perhaps the next occasion Abramovich opts to watch from the stands, Chelsea can produce a performance befitting of a man who demands the highest of standards.

Kepa proves a point

It was after Edouard Mendy’s difficult afternoon against West Ham United on Saturday that Tuchel was asked if he was the sort of coach who let a player push through a difficult patch of form or whether he would take the Senegal international out of his side. The answer was rather emphatic.

“I don’t see at all why we should have major doubts with Edou. Every single career as a goalkeeper out there, there will be tough days and tough moments and they are in the spotlight because you are in an exposed situation and position if you play goalkeeper.

“Every little mistake and every ball loss or every decision-making when you struggle is so obvious. That environment starts pointing fingers, or whatever, this is absolutely normal. We don’t want this to happen because he is crucial for us in our defensive performance.

 

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