A monumental test awaits a depleted Juventus on Wednesday night as the European champions come to town on Matchday 2 of the Champions League group stages.
Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea may well be the Bianconeri’s toughest opponent in years, with the meticulous German boss overseeing an incredible resurgence in west London following his January appointment.
After claiming European glory against domestic rivals Manchester City in May, the Blues certainly didn’t rest on their laurels in the summer transfer window and added £100m striker Romelu Lukaku to their ranks. They’re keen to add yet another Premier League title to their collection this season.
Nevertheless, Tuchel also has to focus on defending his continental crown. His side edged past Zenit on Matchday 1 and now have, on paper, their toughest fixture of the group away at Juventus.
The Bianconeri are without two key men in Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata but Massimiliano Allegri’s pragmatism can’t be underestimated and the Italians head into this one off the back of consecutive victories in Serie A. They, too, claimed victory on Matchday 1, beating Malmo 3-0 in Sweden.
This is a huge test for a transitioning Juve, and here’s our preview of Wednesday’s clash.
How to Watch Juventus vs Chelsea
When is kick-off? Wednesday 29 September
What time is kick-off? 20:00 (BST)
Where is it played? Allianz Stadium
TV channel/live stream? BT Sport 2 (UK), Paramount+ (US)
Juventus Team News
Both Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata avoided major injuries after they were forced off in the victory over Sampdoria on Sunday. The Argentine has been called up by Argentina for next month’s international break but will be out of action until then. Morata is expected to return after the break, too.
Adrien Rabiot is a doubt for the hosts after he missed the weekend’s win due to injury, while Arthur Melo and Kaio Jorge remain sidelined.
Wojciech Szczesny will return between the sticks for the Bianconeri, while Allegri could switch to a 3-5-2 to potentially match up with the visitors. Thus, Weston McKennie or Aaron Ramsey could come into the midfield.
Chelsea Team News
Reece James is unlikely to start after picking up an ankle injury in Saturday’s defeat to Manchester City. Cesar Azpilicueta is poised to replace the young Englishman down the right.
Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic are both doubtful, while N’Golo Kante has been ruled out due to illness.
Tuchel will surely return to a 3-4-3 following the failure of his 3-5-2 against the Cityzens. German duo Timo Werner and Kai Havertz could flank Romelu Lukaku in attack.
Juventus: Szczesny; Danilo, Bonucci, de Ligt, Sandro; Cuadrado, Locatelli, Bentancur, Chiesa; Kulusevski, Kean.
Chelsea: Mendy; Christensen, Silva, Rudiger; Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kovacic, Chilwell; Havertz, Werner; Lukaku.
Juventus’ Recent Form
Juventus 3-2 Sampdoria (26/09) – Serie A
Spezia 2-3 Juventus (22/09) – Serie A
Juventus 1-1 AC Milan (19/09) – Serie A
Malmo 0-3 Juventus (14/09) – Champions League
Napoli 2-1 Juventus (11/09) – Serie A
Chelsea’s Recent Form
Chelsea 0-1 Manchester City (25/09) – Premier League
Chelsea 1-1 (4-3p) Aston Villa (22/09) – Carabao Cup
Tottenham 0-3 Chelsea (19/09) – Premier League
Chelsea 1-0 Zenit (14/09) – Champions League
Chelsea 3-0 Aston Villa (11/09) – Premier League
Despite being tamed by a brilliant Manchester City at the weekend, Tuchel’s Chelsea remain one of Europe’s best. They’re a force. The Blues do almost everything right and Juventus will need a borderline miracle if they’re to claim a result on Wednesday night considering their injury list.
The visitors should win here pretty comfortably, but they’re not the type of side who’ll put four or five past Juventus. I’m expecting a controlled triumph, so 2-0 sounds about right.
Prediction: Juventus 0-2 Chelsea