Predicted XI

Red hot Giroud to start again – How Chelsea could line up against Krasnodar

The Frenchman has scored five goals in less than a week as he stakes a claim for a spot in the side

 
8:57am on Monday 7th December 2020
By
Nicholas Hughes

Fresh from scoring four goals in Seville on Matchday 5, Olivier Giroud is set to lead the line again for Chelsea in their final Champions League match against Krasnodar on Tuesday night.

The Frenchman followed that scintillating display with another start and another goal, this time back at home against Leeds United as the Blues came from behind to win the game 3-1.

Frank Lampard’s side have already confirmed top spot in Group E, while the Russians will be fighting to sure up a place in the Europa League knockout stages by securing third in the group.

Chelsea: Squad, FC Ratings, Matches, Formations

2020/21 Champions League: Groups, Matches, Team Stats, Player Stats

Giroud has been without first-team football for just about the entire calendar year, with a brief spell of appearances after lockdown last season that saw him net six times and earn a new contract at Stamford Bridge.

France coach Didier Deschamps had recently suggested the 33-year-old ought to play more if he wishes to go to the Euros next summer, and he is certainly building his case.

Alongside him, the Blues will likely be without Hakim Ziyech who was withdrawn inside the opening half hour against Leeds with a hamstring issue.

He could be replaced in the starting XI by Christian Pulisic who stepped up his return from a similar issue with a first goal in his three appearances back.

With Callum Hudson-Odoi injured, Timo Werner should complete the front three.

With qualification sewn up and trips to Everton and Wolves in the coming week, Lampard will likely rotate heavily with a plethora of quality options waiting to make their mark on the team.

Kai Havertz is in a similar position in returning to fitness having tested positive for COVID-19 at the beginning of last month, but three starts within seven days may be one too many.

Billy Gilmour could feature having come off the bench to make his Champions League debut last week, while Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic are also likely to return to the starting line-up.

The back four could be subject to similar rotation with a return for all four starters in Spain last week, with captain Cesar Azpilicueta set to build on his three starts in the competition so far.

Lampard will see the match as a chance to freshen the squad while also providing another opportunity to lay down a marker for the matches ahead as home fans return to the Champions League in England for the first time since March.

Chelsea starting XI versus Krasnodar

Chelsea - Football tactics and formations

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