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Like the first meeting between the sides, this could be a low-scoring affair. The Blues are giving little away at the moment, so back a win and a clean sheet for the home team.
Back Chelsea to win to nil on Tuesday (+185)
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As soon as Thomas Tuchel took charge of Chelsea in January, he shifted to a three-man backline. It proved to be a masterstroke. The German had an instant impact on the team he inherited, particularly defensively. Chelsea had been conceding far too many goals under his predecessor, Frank Lampard. Tuchel tightened things up immediately and the solid foundation provided by the back three remains intact 10 months on.
Chelsea have conceded only one goal in their four Champions League games this season. Their record in the Premier League is just as impressive: four goals conceded in 12 matches. The clean sheet they registered in Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Leicester City was their 11th of the campaign in all competitions. Chelsea have a strong midfield and plenty of quality in attack, but it is their solidity at the back which is most impressive. If Tuchel’s side go on to win silverware this season, it will primarily be because of their excellent defensive record.
Chelsea, of course, are the reigning European champions and look to be in contention for this year’s trophy too. Their meetings with Malmo and Zenit Saint Petersburg in Group H have yielded nine points from nine, although the Blues did slip up against Juventus in September.
Their performance in that 1-0 defeat was disappointing, but Chelsea have gone from strength to strength since then. They have not lost any of their subsequent nine outings and know that a victory on Tuesday is likely to put them in pole position to qualify for the knockout phase of the Champions League as group winners. That is a worthy objective since the draw for the round of 16 tends to be kinder to those who finished top of their respective section.
In that aforementioned victory over Chelsea in September, Juventus turned in a vintage performance. They were happy to cede possession at times and sat in a compact and narrow defensive shape without the ball, before springing forward on the counter-attack whenever an opportunity to do so presented itself. Federico Chiesa’s goal early in the second half proved decisive, as Juventus successfully shut out Chelsea for the remainder of the match.
Displays like that have been few and far between this season, though. Given how successful he was in his first spell in charge of the club, it was tempting to believe Max Allegri would restore Juventus to their former glories immediately. That has not been the case. The Bianconeri have been inconsistent in Serie A and sit seventh in the standings at the time of writing. Goals have been hard to come by, with just 18 scored in their first 13 league games – fewer than any other side in the top half of the table.
Juventus have been more reliable in the Champions League, and a draw here would be enough to see them qualify for the last 16 as group winners. Allegri remains an astute tactician and there is an argument that his side are better suited to knockout soccer, where their experience and nous could come into its own. Juventus might not be among the favorites to win this competition, but no one will relish coming up against them in a two-legged tie in the spring.
Chelsea lost 1-0 to Manchester City at Stamford Bridge in September, but that was a rare blip for the Blues on their own patch. If you include their penalty shoot-out victories over Leicester City and Aston Villa in the League Cup, Chelsea have won eight of their other nine matches at home this season. Stamford Bridge has become a fortress for Tuchel’s side and that should work to their advantage here.
Doubts persist over Juventus’ quality in attack, and that issue will only be exacerbated if Paulo Dybala is not passed fit to play on Tuesday. Allegri’s side did score twice against Lazio at the weekend, but they have struggled for goals on the road at times this season. Whether they have the firepower to breach Chelsea’s backline at Stamford Bridge remains to be seen.
In some ways the pressure is off both teams ahead of Tuesday’s encounter, with Juventus already through to the round of 16 and Chelsea likely to make it even if they lose to the current Group H leaders. Even so, we are unlikely to be treated to a goal-laden affair given where these two teams’ strengths lie.
Another Chelsea clean sheet looks like a distinct possibility, and the worry for Juventus is that they could struggle to get enough meaningful possession in the final third. At odds of +185, it is well worth backing a home win to nil in this ones.
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|Chelsea vs Juventus Information|
|Teams||Chelsea vs Juventus|
|Location||Stamford Bridge, London, England|
|Time||Tuesday, 23 November 2021, 15.00 PM EST|
|How to watch||Paramount+|
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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