Lukaku heads Chelsea past stubborn Zenit

Mueez Ajao

– Romelu Lukaku enlivened an otherwise flat Chelsea performance with the only goal to beat Zenit St Petersburg 1-0 and get the Blues’ Champions League defence off to a winning start.

– Lukaku never made a Champions League appearance during his first spell at Stamford Bridge, but is quickly making up for lost time since returning to Chelsea for a club record £97 million last month.

– Captain Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen, Reece James, Jorginho and Mason Mount returned to the starting line-up, but there was still little verve to Chelsea’s attacking play throughout.

– The first half came and went without the home side even registering a shot on target.

– Centre-back Antonio Rudiger looked to take matters into his own hands with a rampaging run forward five minutes after the break, but the finish let the German international down as he blazed wide.

– Lukaku showcased his mix of pace, power and precision in front of goal to score his first Stamford Bridge goals for Chelsea against Villa at the weekend.

– Zenit boss Sergei Semak threw on the towering presence of Artem Dzyuba in search of an equaliser and it nearly paid off.

– Tuchel immediately introduce Thiago Silva and Chelsea held out for a fourth clean sheet in six games this season.