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Juventus 3-0 Chelsea
Juventus triumphed 3-0 over Chelsea in Turin on Tuesday in a must win Champions League Group E match for both sides. Fabio Quagliarella and Arturo Vidal, the scorers from the reverse fixture in London, along with Sebastian Giovinco got the goals for The Old Lady.
There was tons of controversy as to who would start up front for Chelsea. Those rumours saying that Fernando Torres would be omitted from the squad were correct. Instead manager Roberto Di Matteo went with a false nine in Eden Hazard and started Cesar Azpilicueta, traditionally a right back, in an advanced winger position with Oscar and Juan Mata beside him. Juventus had no surprises starting. Juve’s Stamford Bridge hero Fabio Quagliarella partnered Mirko Vucinic up front.
Another talking point with Chelsea’s tactics was the style they’d use. Di Matteo hinted that they’d play more conservatively, using a little more “catenaccio”, like they did in the latter stages of the Champions League last season. For most of the match that was the case, except for spells between the hour mark and added time in the second half. Looking at the possession stats would falsify that claim as the Blues had the ball 52% of the time , but looking at the match itself and Juventus’ 25 shots (13 of which hit the target), Chelsea was on the back foot. The visitors did have eleven attempts, but only mustered two on target, both of which were shot straight at Gianluigi Buffon. What Juve did well in stopping their opponents from counter attacking was their retreating. All five midfielders would hustle back behind the ball and try to win it back, similar to how Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona operated. Along with that, Eden Hazard’s runs were read easily by the back three since he was the only front man, making it harder for him to get free. The London side managed to counter with pace a few times and then when they were at their most dangerous, but that’s also when the Bianconeri held back more.
The attacking side was just as intriguing for the hosts. The defence would do their usual routine of advancing up the pitch and using longer passes to the midfielders so they can quickly get the ball into the attacking third to open up space. Chelsea players failed to close the defenders down, specifically Giorgio Chiellini. This was because of their more conservative system. Even Gianluigi Buffon played it short, he never hit it long. Every ball in the defensive third would always go to a defender.
The goals themselves all came from counter attacks. Juventus didn’t get a lot of shots before Fabio Quagliarella scored. The ball was played quickly to Andrea Pirlo, who hit it before Quagliarella tipped it past Petr Cech in the 38th minute. Shortly after the hour mark, Kwadwo Asamoah fired in a cross from the left flank. It rolled to the top of the area, then Arturo Vidal blasted it past Cech to make it 2-0. This shortly after a Giorgio Chiellini long throw from his own half, shocking Chelsea’s defenders. Lastly, Sebastian Giovinco, who replaced Mirko Vucinic, was put through on a breakaway by Vidal, he then calmly slotted the ball underneath an onrushing Petr Cech in added time to make it 3-0. His marker coming from yet another fast transition.
Overall, Juventus rose to the occasion and Chelsea flopped, failing to win for the fifth match in a row in all competitions. It’s also the eleventh time in twelve games they’ve not recorded a win in Italy. Now they must hope that Juventus loses in Donetsk on December 5th when they play Shakhtar. If not, the European champions will bow out of the Champions League far too early.