Timo Werner was top-class, but Saul Niguez was among those who were disappointing as Zenit St Petersburg held Chelsea to a 3-3 draw on Wednesday.

Chelsea kicked off the game brilliantly, going in front after just two minutes, as Timo Werner scored from close range after Andreas Christensen had flicked Ross Barkley’s corner his way. However, the Blues fizzled out after a strong start, with Zenit St Petersburg taking control. And as half-time approached, the hosts netted two quickfire goals.

Zenit first drew level through Claudinho, who smartly converted Douglas Santos’ cross. Shortly after, Sardar Azmoun sent Zenit in front after pouncing on some poor defending by Chelsea before rounding Kepa Arrizabalaga to find the back of the net.

Chelsea stepped up after the break, and just past the hour mark, Romelu Lukaku made it 2-2 after some fine work by Werner. The German was on target for a second time in the game in the 85th minute, producing a superb finish after a nice interplay between Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic, who supplied the final ball.

However, Chelsea failed to kill the game, and Zenit duly pounced, as Magomed Ozdoev netted a fantastic half-volley to make it 3-3 and ensure a share of the spoils. With Juventus beating Malmo FF, Chelsea finished the group stage campaign as Group H runners-up. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Thomas Tuchel’s men.

Kepa Arrizabalaga: 8/10

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Handed a rare start, Kepa endured a busy night against Zenit but could not have done anything to deny Claudinho, Sardar Azmoun and Magomed Ozdoev. However, the Spaniard made several top-class saves to suggest Chelsea will be in safe hands when Edouard Mendy is unavailable in January due to his participation at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Cesar Azpilicueta: 5/10

Back in the starting lineup, Azpilicueta did not necessarily make any errors in the game, but he was not the leader the Blues needed him to be. The Spaniard desperately needs some inspiration to turn his fortunes around at Chelsea.

Andreas Christensen: 5/10

Playing the sweeper role in the back three, Christensen had the task of keeping things tight at the back and ensuring a disciplined defensive display from his teammates. However, the Dane struggled to keep the central defensive unit organised and lost Azmoun tamely, leading up to the second Zenit goal. He has to do better.

Malang Sarr: 5/10

Sarr was one of several players to make a rare start against Zenit, but he was incredibly poor on the night. The 22-year-old struggled to find his feet at the back, and, along with Saul Niguez, he was the weak link for Chelsea on Wednesday. The only saving grace for him was a healthy passing rate of 93 per cent.

Callum Hudson-Odoi: 5/10

Thomas Tuchel made some questionable decisions in lining up his team, and deploying Hudson-Odoi as a right wing-back was one of them. The youngster’s potency was affected by the role he had to essay, and he looked uncomfortable all game long. Defensively, there were also a few hairy moments.

Reece James: 6/10

James was surprisingly deployed as a central midfielder, and the birthday boy showed some teething problems in the position in the first half. However, he improved as the game wore on, although some of his natural instincts remained curbed due to the role he was handed.

Ross Barkley: 5/10

Making a rare start for Chelsea, Barkley had the opportunity to show that he deserved more minutes, especially when some of the regulars are unavailable. However, the Englishman was off-colour on the night, and it particularly showed when he lost possession cheaply leading up to Zenit’s second goal.

Saul Niguez: 5/10

With Marcos Alonso not fully fit, Saul Niguez got a chance to impress as a left wing-back. However, as has been the case in his short Chelsea stint thus far, the Spaniard was sub-par, with the left side of the Chelsea side being hugely problematic against Zenit. He is highly unlikely to be signed on a permanent deal.

Mason Mount: 7/10

As his teammates slacked off after the early opener, Mount continued to put in the hard yards and look for the openings in the final third. The Englishman played three key passes and hardly ever lost the ball wastefully. However, he could not create a defining moment in the game, which was the major undoing for Mount.

Romelu Lukaku: 7/10

Back in the starting lineup for the first time since recovering from an ankle injury, Lukaku showed some signs of rust in his game. However, he got his goal superbly and even played a couple of key passes, which will help his confidence a great deal. He is slowly but surely getting back to peak fitness.

Timo Werner: 10/10

It was a game that could signal a major turnaround for Werner. The German international was positioned perfectly to score the opener and found Lukaku smartly for his team’s second. Werner then completed his brace late in the game after receiving the ball from Christian Pulisic, but it was not enough to get Chelsea all three points.


Christian Pulisic: 7/10

Pulisic produced a purposeful display after replacing Hudson-Odoi, carrying a lot of threat on the right flank. His link-up play and final ball leading up to Werner’s second strike were top-notch.

Hakim Ziyech: 6/10

On for Barkley, Ziyech was a tad-bit wasteful in possession but combined beautifully with Pulisic in the build-up to Werner’s second goal.

Marcos Alonso: N/A

Introduced in place of Saul, Alonso saw a fair bit of the ball late in the game but did not utilise it smartly.

Kai Havertz: N/A

On for Lukaku, Havertz did not get many opportunities to express himself and had only eight touches on the ball.

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