UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Venue: Stamford Bridge Kick off: 19:45, Wednesday 19th September
TEAM NEWS: After knee treatment on Monday, John Terry is fit and available to start. John Obi Mikel is also expected to begin the match after recovering from a minor back problem. Juan Mata will start on the bench after sitting out of Chelsea’s fiery clash with QPR on Saturday. Marko Marin remains sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Juve’s manager Antonio Conte will be sitting in the stands after picking up a 10 month global ban last season. However The old lady are close to having a full squad with only Lucio, Simone Pepe and Simone Padoin out due to fitness concerns.
MATCH PREVIEW: Chelsea, who still sit top of the Premier League despite their 0-0 draw with QPR at the weekend, will start their defence of the Champions League crown tonight, while Juventus return to the competition after a two year absence.
The defending Champions will have a tough test tonight and in my opinion have to get all three points if they want to finish top of their group. Last season Chelsea proved that 3 wins at home and a few points away is usually enough to come away top of the group. However with such strong opponents like Juventus it should prove hard.
Juventus start the competition almost pressure free knowing that they are not exactly expected to win their first away match against the defending champions.
At the weekend the Italian team set a new club record by winning their seventh consecutive away game and also extended their unbeaten record in the league to 42 matches.
- Juventus have lost their last six Champions League away games in England.
- Chelsea are unbeaten against Juventus in the Champions League. They met in the last 16 of the 2008/09 campaign, with Chelsea winning 1-0 at Stamford Bridge before drawing 2-2 in Turin.
- The last non-English side to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League were Inter Milan in March 2010.
- This is Chelsea’s 10th consecutive participation in the Champions League. They’ve reached the semi-finals six times and the final twice, winning it for the first time in their history last season.
- Chelsea have made it out of the group stages every time in each of their 10 previous Champions League participations.
- Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 26 Champions League group stage games at home (20 wins, six draws).
- Last season, Chelsea won all six of their games at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League, scoring 17 goals and conceding only two.
- Juventus have picked up the most red cards in the Champions League: 19 (since 1992/93).
- Juventus are making their 13th appearance in the Champions League and their first since the 2009/10 season. Only AC Milan have made more appearances among Italian sides.
- Juventus have won the European Cup/Champions League on two occasions (1985 and 1996). Only Benfica and Bayern Munich have lost as many finals as the Old Lady (5).
As a Chelsea fan and a football enthusiast with a good knowledge of the game, I have total belief that The Blues can pick up all three points without that much trouble, but as Chelsea have failed to win their last two matches and Juventus are waltzing in the Serie A without a manager at the sideline, my head is beginning to tell me that it’s going to be very difficult to win.
Chelsea 2-2 Juventus