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Preview: Chelsea vs. FC Krasnodar - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's Champions League clash between Chelsea and FC Krasnodar, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Chelsea will be aiming to stretch their winning run in the Champions League to five matches when they welcome Russian side FC Krasnodar to Stamford Bridge for Tuesday's final group-stage encounter.

The Blues have already confirmed their first-place finish in the group, whereas Krasnodar will drop down to the Europa League ahead of this dead rubber.

Match preview

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard pictured on November 4, 2020© Reuters

Frank Lampard and Marcelo Bielsa renewed hostilities at Stamford Bridge nearly two years after the infamous spying saga, but it was the Blues manager who got one over his adversary as Chelsea came from behind to win 3-1 in front of the Stamford Bridge faithful.

A defensive mix-up allowed Patrick Bamford to open the scoring for the Whites and silence the 2,000-strong Chelsea crowd, but none other than Olivier Giroud - fresh from a four-goal showing in Seville - restored parity before Kurt Zouma and Christian Pulisic propelled Chelsea to victory against Leeds.

The Blues' eighth victory from their last nine in all competitions sees Lampard's men temporarily top the Premier League table, although Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool both play on Sunday and are only one point adrift of Chelsea before they face Arsenal and Wolverhampton Wanderers respectively.

Chelsea have swept aside the competition in Europe as well and are guaranteed to finish top following four wins and one draw in Group E, with Giroud's quartet of goals sealing a 4-0 win at the home of Sevilla - the only side to stop Chelsea from winning in this season's tournament - last week.

The talented attacking crop at Lampard's disposal has come under some criticism, but with a goal difference of +12 in the group, only Barcelona can boast a better record in Europe's elite competition this season, with Lampard's men sure to feel confident of notching up some more against an inconsistent Krasnodar.

Krasnodar head coach Murad Musayev pictured on November 4, 2020© Reuters

Krasnodar's qualification for the Europa League has been more down to Rennes' woeful form than anything else, but the Russian outfit have nevertheless been handed another chance to put things right in Europe after an underwhelming group stage.

Murad Musaev's men have been no match for Chelsea and Sevilla - who occupy the top two spots as expected - with the only points that Krasnodar have amassed in the group coming in their two meetings with Rennes.

After opening their campaign with a 1-1 draw against Les Rouge et Noir in France, the Russian side would not pick up another point in the group stage before a narrow 1-0 win over Rennes last week, with Marcus Berg's eighth goal of the season enough to see Krasnodar take the spoils in that one.

Musaev's side can afford to feel optimistic heading into this game after they trounced Rotor Volgograd 5-0 in the Russian top flight at the weekend, with Ari and Viktor Claesson both netting braces while Shapi Suleymanov also helped himself to a goal against their 10-man opponents.

Chelsea made the long journey to Krasnodar in matchweek two of the 2020-21 Champions League, and the Blues stormed to a 4-0 win in that encounter back in October.

Chelsea Champions League form: DWWWW
Chelsea form (all competitions): WWWDWW

FC Krasnodar Champions League form: WDLLLW
FC Krasnodar form (all competitions): LWLLWW

Team News

Hakim Ziyech pictured for Chelsea in October 2020© Reuters

Chelsea had a clean bill of health before the visit of Leeds, but Hakim Ziyech was forced off after half an hour against the Whites and will miss out here after suffering a hamstring strain.

Callum Hudson-Odoi would have been able to look forward to an extended run in the team before picking up a problem himself, while Pulisic could occupy the opposite flank and allow Timo Werner the chance to rest.

Lampard will be expected to make significant alterations for this dead rubber, with the likes of Antonio Rudiger, Jorginho, Cesar Azpilicueta potentially lining up from the first whistle, while Kepa Arrizabalaga and Billy Gilmour are confirmed starters.

Meanwhile, Krasnodar's only two concerns at the minute are right-backs Dmitri Stotskiy and Sergey Petrov, both of whom are getting closer to a return to action.

There is no need for the visitors to be going full-strength for this one either, but Claesson will hope to have done enough to earn a place in Musaev's first XI, as will Berg.

Musaev hauled four players - Ari, Ruslan Kambolov, Wanderson and Igor Smolnikov - off at half time against Rotor Volgograd with his side already 3-0 up, suggesting that the quartet could be starting this one.

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Christensen, Emerson; Jorginho, Kovacic, Gilmour; Havertz, Giroud, Pulisic

FC Krasnodar possible starting lineup:
Safonov; Smolnikov, Martynovich, Sorokin, Ramirez; Wanderson, Kambolov, Vilhena, Claesson; Berg, Ari

SM words green background

We say: Chelsea 3-0 FC Krasnodar

This game means very little for both teams who are already assured of their places in the group, and Krasnodar can therefore afford to play without fear when they make the long journey to the English capital. However, even with numerous changes, Chelsea should still have too much firepower for the Russian side and we are backing Lampard's men to march to another convincing victory in Europe.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:data


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Chelsea manager Frank Lampard pictured on November 4, 2020
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