Juventus v Chelsea Preview
Juventus Stadium, Turin
MATCH IN A SENTENCE: Juventus have only a home win over Danish champions Nordsjaelland to show for their four matches in Champions League Group E, and with Chelsea in a bit of a rut ahead of Tuesday’s match the Scudetto holders will view anything other than a win as a disappointment, especially given their tenuous position in the bracket.
BREAKDOWN: Juventus overcame a 2-0 deficit to earn a draw in London when these sides met in December. But while the result looked good at the time it was followed by two more draws, and only two matches to decide which sides progress from a competitive group the Bianconeri know they will likely need to take at least four points from the remaining six on offer.
With that in mind, midfielder Claudio Marchisio referred to Tuesday’s encounter as Juve’s “biggest game of the year” so far, reminding reporters in a pre-match press conference that Chelsea’s recent European runs have left the current Champions League holders with several players with meaningful experience in the competition.
“Perhaps Chelsea have more experience as far as the Champions League is concerned, given that we haven’t played in this competition for a few years,” he said, adding, “We’re approaching this game at the best possible moment, because we reacted well to the defeat against Inter.”
Chelsea, meanwhile, haven’t won in the Premier League in a month and are desperate to regain the form that saw them blaze to the top of the domestic ledger in August and September. Fernando Torres has been particularly ineffective for the Blues, and there are rumblings that the striker could be benched in Turin.
Nevertheless, manager Roberto Di Matteo says his side will attack the Italian champions from the outset.
“Our intention is to cause Juventus problems,” he said, “so certainly we will attack as well as defend.
ESSENTIALS: Juventus welcome back Andrea Pirlo, who was suspended for Saturday’s match against Lazio, but they’ll be without forward Mirko Vucinic and wing-back Paolo De Ceglie, both of whom are injured.
Chelsea captain John Terry will miss out with a knee injury and Frank Lampard is touch-and-go with a leg problem as well. Ashley Cole is expected to start at left-back.
KEY BATTLE: Juan Mata—the Premier League Player of the Month for October—will operate mostly on the right-hand side of the Chelsea attack and should cause Juventus wing-back Kwadwo Asamoah no shortage of problems on that flank. He’ll also be running up against Giorgio Chiellini much of the night.
FORMATIONS: Juventus will deploy a 3-5-2 formation with the in-form Fabio Quagliarella expected to start up top alongside Sebastian Giovinco. Chelsea’s 4-2-3-1 will likely be fronted by Torres, and Mata, Oscar and Eden Hazard will operate in support.
BETLINE: Juventus 17/20; Draw 11/4; Chelsea 3/1. Chelsea haven’t lost any of their last three matches against Juventus.