Juventus v Chelsea: Five Key Battles

Chelsea to travel to Italy to take on Juventus in a crunch tie with both teams looking to take control of the group.

Here are the five key battles to look out for.

Giorgio Chiellini v Fernando Torres

Arguably the best defender in the Juventus team has the task of keeping Fernando Torres quiet. Torres was disappointing in the weekend defeat away at West Brom and will be a very busy player for this game which means Chiellini has to be at his very best. The Juventus defender can dominate Torres physically so he has to stay disciplined as the striker will try different ways to pull him out of position and manipulate him.

Andrea Barzagli v Eden Hazard

Barzagli commonly plays down the right of the Juventus defence. Eden Hazard regularly drifts out to the left of the Chelsea team so the Juventus full back is likely to be the player tasked with keeping him quiet. Hazard likes to cut inside and link up with the other midfield players and strikers so Barzagli has to work hard on showing him down the line towards the corner flag where he is much less effective.

Claudio Marchisio v Juan Mata

Marchisio is the vice-captain of Juventus and he will be looking to set the tone in the middle of the pitch. Expect him to be aggressive and physical in his bid to stop Juan Mata from having too much time on the ball. Mata should be fresher as he only played half an hour in the weekend game at West Brom, he has to be very precise in terms of his passing and link up play because there won’t be a lot of space in the middle.

Arturo Vidal v John Obi Mikel

Mikel is the player in the Chelsea side that sits in front of the back four and tries to break up the midfield play as he gives the defence protection. Vidal is going to make a few probing forward runs as he looks for a way through the Chelsea defence or for a way to set someone else up. He has to be very wary of Mikel’s physical presence because the Chelsea midfielder is not afraid of committing some blatant fouls if it takes the pressure away from his team.

Fabio Quagliarella v Gary Cahill

Quagliarella is likely to be the main attacking threat from Juventus for this game. He will try and pin back the Chelsea defence and let the midfield go about their business. Gary Cahill is a much more reliable defender than David Luiz so he has to take the primary responsibility in the defence if Juventus go for just the one striker in attack. Expect a physical battle and if Cahill can stay on top of the striker then Juve could struggle to get in behind Chelsea.

image: © Julian Mason

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