Tuchel: We were shocked by Reece James robbery

Having played the full game against Zenit in the Champions League, James, plus the rest of his team-mates, have since Tuesday to recover from that match and prepare for Sunday’s outing, while Spurs played away on Thursday night in the UEFA Europa Conference League.

‘It’s good,’ said Tuchel on his own team’s gap between fixtures.

‘I like it because after a day off, which was good for us, we still had one recovery day yesterday and we have two training sessions where we can prepare physically and tactically, to improve exactly what we want to improve.

‘It’s very rare, so it’s good for us, but is it an advantage? I think if you go into statistics, over the years I think you will not find any advantage if a team has one or two days more off. Sometimes it’s good to stay in the rhythm. It depends, but for us in particular it was good to have the four days.’

Academy Arsenal fixture moved to Kingsmeadow

We were originally scheduled to host the Gunners in a London derby at Stamford Bridge, but the fixture has been moved to the Academy’s regular home in Kingston-upon-Thames. This is due to the inclement weather experienced at Stamford Bridge in the build-up to the Champions League home tie against Zenit St Petersburg on Tuesday. Kick-off for Sunday’s development squad game remains at midday.

Tickets purchased to watch the Premier League 2 match at Stamford Bridge will no longer be valid at the new venue. All supporters who bought one of these tickets will automatically receive a refund for the full amount within the next seven to 10 working days.

If travel costs to Stamford Bridge have already been incurred, for these to be reimbursed the details and a receipt for the expenditure will need to be emailed to supporter.services@chelseafc.com by 5pm on 29 October.

Those wishing to attend at Kingsmeadow will need to purchase new tickets, which can be done online here until 4pm on Friday 17 September, or in person from the ticket office at Kingsmeadow on the day of the game. Please note payment at the ticket office is by card only.

In addition to this change of venue, our home and away Premier League 2 fixtures against Blackburn Rovers have been reversed, meaning we will now host them at Cobham at midday on Sunday 3 October and travel to Blackburn on Monday 2 May, while the kick-off time for our visit to Leicester City in the same competition on Saturday 23 October has changed to 5pm.

Those attending Sunday’s game at Kingsmeadow should be aware that the ground is subject to the same security and Covid-19 restrictions as Stamford Bridge following recent regulation changes.

This means a strict limit on the size of bags that can be taken into the stadium, with A4 (30cm x 20cm x 10cm) the largest size permitted, to improve security and reduce congestion during entry. Baggage deposit facilities are not available, so fans are strongly advised not to bring any bags to matches.

Supporters will also be required to provide evidence they are at low risk of transmitting Covid-19, through either a full vaccination (with both doses received at least 14 days prior to the match) or a negative Lateral Flow Test (from age 11 and over) carried out within 48 hours of kick-off.

All those attending will be required to wear masks in all indoor areas of the stadium, except when they are eating or drinking. Masks are not required when seated or walking outside the stadium.

Jorginho rates Lukaku’s impact and explains the two sides of Tuchel

It was the impact made by another man, Thomas Tuchel, that played not only a vital part in our European success, but also helped get the very best out of Jorginho, who is in the form of his Chelsea career.

‘He is two different guys,’ Jorginho explained of his boss.

‘The guy you see on the touchline is not the same guy outside the pitch. He is very friendly outside the pitch, and on the pitch he is focused and wants the best from us.

‘He is a perfectionist. He works hard, and he tries to give his best to help everyone. He demands a lot because he knows what we can give.’

UYL reaction: Myers on experience gained and difference made in key areas

‘I felt Silko Thomas also had a very good game. He was a threat with Harvey on the left-hand side and that’s where the goals came from, with some very good combination play between them.’

With two forwards and a creative midfielder among the goals, Myers was also pleased to see his offensive players contributing, though he provided some insight into the tweaks made at the break to get his centre-forward into more dangerous goalscoring positions.

‘It’s nice to get goals from the players you want your goals from,’ he added. ‘We did say to Jude that, for all his good play in the first half, at times he wasn’t in those areas to score so we asked him to get into the six-yard box a bit more.

‘He did that for the first goal, had a shot saved before Charlie finished it off, and then got his reward by getting in there for his goal as well. That’s where I want my centre-forward trying to get goals and that’s what happened.’

The Debrief: Patience and finding the right combinations key to winning Champions League start

Those crosses weren’t the only way we tried to look for different solutions to breach the defensive wall put up in front of us. We attempted 23 dribbles compared to Zenit’s 15 as players tried to beat their man to break through the lines and create space in the opposition half, with Mateo Kovacic’s six dribbles the highest number of any player on the pitch, Mason Mount and Hakim Ziyech producing the next highest for Chelsea with four each.

The right combination

When the breakthrough did arrive it came via a trademark Cesar Azpilicueta cross to the back post from deep and that should have been no surprise as, along with Lukaku, it was the combination of the Spanish defender with Reece James and Mount down our right side which had looked like our most promising route to goal for much of the game.

In addition to Mount’s high number of dribbles, which unsurprisingly all came in the opposition half, James also beat his man twice in dangerous positions in the final third, and of our 22 crosses into the box, that trio accounted for 12 of them (Mount five, James four, Azpilicueta three).

Match report: Chelsea 1 Zenit St Petersburg 0

However, with Zenit still stubbornly refusing to allow us the room to create chances with just under half-an-hour remaining, Tuchel decided to make his first change of the night, with Kai Havertz coming on the replace Ziyech.

We weren’t quite having things all our own way, despite increasingly long spells of possession, as shown when Rudiger made a perfectly-timed challenge in the box to nip the ball of Sardar Azmoun striker’s foot.

Before the clock could tick over into the last 20 minutes, though, we had finally taken the lead we had deserved on the balance of play, and who else could it have been to find the breakthrough but Lukaku? From the moment Azpilicueta clipped one of his trademark diagonal ball towards the back post, the end result never seemed in doubt, as Lukaku’s powerful leap took him above two defenders to head an effort down beyond Kritsyuk and into the bottom corner.

Alonso then tried his luck with a fantastic turn on the edge of the box to make room for a shot, but he dragged his effort wide of the right-hand post. Zenit were trying to fight back, bringing on the imposing figure of Russian international centre-forward Artem Dzyuba and trying for a more direct route upfield, but the striker was guilty of a glaring miss as we entered the final 10 minutes as he slid to meet a good ball across the face of goal, but guided his shot wide from close range.

That prompted Tuchel to introduce Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell from the bench, the latter making his first competitive appearance since last season’s Champions League final, to help us keep things tight at the back and ward off any late counter-attacks for the visitors to snatch a point.

They completed that task in expert style, as we barely allowed Zenit a touch of the ball for the final few minutes of the game, playing safe in possession to see out a winning start to our defence of the Champions League trophy.

Chelsea line up vs Zenit St Petersburg

Zenit make three changes from the side that beat Akhmat Grozny 3-1 in their last game to go top of the table in Russia, as South American trio Wilmar Barrios, Claudinho and Malcom all return after being rested at the weekend.

Chelsea (3-4-3): Mendy; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; James, Kovacic, Jorginho, Alonso; Ziyech, Lukaku, Mount

Substitutes: Bergstrom, Kepa, Chilwell, Chalobah, Sarr, Thiago Silva, Barkley, Loftus-Cheek, Saul, Havertz, Hudson-Odoi, Werner

Zenit (4-4-2): Kritsyuk; Sutormin, Chistiakov, Rakitskyy, Douglas Santos (c); Malcom, Barrios, Kuzyaev, Wendel; Azmoun, Claudinho

Substitutes: Kerzhakov, Odoevski, Krugovoi, Khotulev, Kravtsov, Erokhin, Mostovoy, Dzyuba

Referee: Bartosz Frankowski

Azpilicueta on ‘great additions’ Lukaku and Saul

Saul’s introduction to life at Chelsea hasn’t run quite so smoothly after completing a loan move from Atletico Madrid late on transfer deadline day. He had a difficult debut against Aston Villa, which saw him replaced at half-time by Jorginho, but Azpilicueta feels his fellow Spaniard just needs time to adapt having never played outside his homeland before, and has no doubts he will prove to be another valuable addition to our squad.

‘Saul is a great player, I know him from his time in the national team. He has great experience at the highest level with Atletico Madrid in the Champions League. When he signed for Chelsea he had a bit of a stressful last few hours of the transfer window, he arrived in a new country, had just a few training sessions before his first game against a good opposition who were very aggressive.

‘So it’s normal, sometimes you need a bit more time to adapt and his response has been absolutely spot on, his desire to improve, asking questions, he wants to adapt as quick as possible. He has our full support, he’s a great addition, I’m very happy to have him in our team. I’m sure that he will keep growing and helping the team because we need everybody and I’m sure that he will be an important player in the season.’