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Chelsea vs. Dinamo Zagreb, Champions League: Preview, team news, how to watch

Dead rubber

Tires Photo by: Marco Scataglini/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Chelsea’s Champions League campaign began in historically bad fashion. With just one point collected from our first two games, including a defeat to this same Dinamo side, we had matched our worst ever start to a group stage campaign, going all the way to back to the very first time we actually participated in the Champions League.

As in 1999, so in 2022, we would turn things around emphatically, finishing first in the group by winning at least three of the next four. In ‘99, we needed at least a point in our final game to qualify; we would instead “dismantle” Hertha Berlin (featuring the likes of Gábor Király in goal and Ali Daei at forward) to stake our first major marker in the competition.

There are no such stakes on the line today, either competitively, collectively, or reputationally. Today’s result is absolutely meaningless in the bigger picture, though it sounds like Graham Potter wants an easy win after the embarrassment of last weekend. Let’s hope his plan works this time...

Date / Time: Wednesday, November 2, 2022, 20.00 GMT; 4pm EDT; 1:30am IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: François Letexier (on pitch); Jérôme Brisard (VAR)
Forecast: Rain

On TV: BT Sport 2 (UK); none (USA); none? (India); SuperSport Football Plus (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: BT Sport Live (UK); Paramount+ (USA); Sony LIV (India); DStv Now (NGA)


Dinamo Zagreb team news: Dinamo have picked up just one point from the four games since the win against Chelsea, though they still have a chance of finishing third in the group should they win here and if Salzburg lose in Milan. Domestically, they remain comfortably top of the league, though they have just one win in their last three games. Young defender Boško Šutalo remains out with a leg fracture (he got hurt just before the first Chelsea game), but there no other injuries or fitness concerns of note.

Chelsea team news: By contrast, Chelsea have all sorts of injuries and fitness concerns of note, including the long-term absences of Reece James, Wesley Fofana, and N’Golo Kanté. James and Fofana are off to Dubai right now in fact, presumably to find some rehab magic. Kepa Arrizabalaga is also expected to miss this game with a foot injury he picked up on Saturday, while the likes of Thiago Silva and Mateo Kovačić are half-broken and being held together by willpower and musk. Also, young Carney Chukwuemeka was reportedly training on his own on Tuesday.

Chelsea FC Training Session And Press Conference Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

In better news, Kalidou Koulibaly may be over his “minor” knee problem and could be in line for some minutes. And if the planets and stars and all other heavenly bodies in all the galaxies align, we might even see Denis Zakaria in action. As far as Academy youth, it doesn’t sound too promising, though Lewis Hall and Charlie Webster have been registered via List B, and Hall, Dion Rankine, Eddie Beach, and Zak Sturge all trained with the first-team on Tuesday (though Beach and Sturge would not be eligible for List B).

Chelsea have three games left after this one before the World Cup, and it reads rather ominously: Arsenal (H), Manchester City (League Cup), Newcastle (A). I was hoping we’d essentially ignore this game and focus on getting the squad in good physical shape for the remaining three, but it sounds like we’re hoping to use this game to boost morale with an (easy) win. You know what they say about best laid plans...

Previously: Well, we’re not about to reminisce about Thomas Tuchel’s final (and highly disappointing) match in charge of Chelsea, so let’s just peep some open training.

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