On Tuesday, Chelsea travels to Turin to face Juventus in an immensely important Champions League fixture. Juventus is the only unbeaten side in the group, but three draws in four matches currently has the Italian champion set for the Europa League.
Group E of the Champions League is still up for grabs. Chelsea and Shakhtar Donetsk are level on 7 points with Juve lurking close behind on 6 points. With only two matches remaining, FC Nordsjaelland is sitting on 1 point and virtually eliminated.
Both Chelsea and Juventus dropped points over the weekend, so neither team is coming into the tie with a great deal of confidence.
On Saturday, Chelsea lost 2-1 against West Bromwich Albion after fielding a noticeably weaker team than was available to manager Roberto Di Matteo. In fact, Chelsea started its youngest league side in eight years, and that was with 21 year-old Oscar and 24 year-old Juan Mata not being included in the starting eleven.
Oscar and Mata came on with just under 30 minutes remaining, and Chelsea looked a much better side from that point on. Misfiring striker Fernando Torres was sacrificed in the changes, and 23 year-old Daniel Sturridge finally got some time to play as the point of attack.
Almost immediately, Mata met a well-timed Sturridge run with a brilliant pass, but West Brom’s American keeper, Boaz Myhill, made a strong save. Soon after, Oscar flicked Sturridge in on goal, but his shot missed just wide.
Chelsea will likely revert back to Torres against Juventus, but Sturridge should be an option considering Mata, in particular, was connecting well with the Manchester City youth product.
Also on Saturday, Juventus played a goalless draw against Lazio, currently fifth in Serie A. Juventus dominated possession, 59 percent, and out-shot its opponent, 21-4. However, midfield general Andrea Pirlo was suspended for the match, and Juventus was lacking a slight sharpness.
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With Pirlo back on Tuesday, Juventus should be the same well-oiled machine that came back from two goals down against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on match day 1.
AccuScore’s computer performed 10,000 simulations on Tuesday’s crucial Group E tie and calculated Juventus to have a 52 percent likelihood of winning. There was a 26 percent chance of a draw. Chelsea only had a 22 percent probability of winning, which is in line with Chelsea having only won two of its last nine away Champions League matches.
Oscar, Mata, and Torres were the most likely scorers for the Blues. Quagliarella, Vidal, and Giovinco were all more likely to score that the Blues’ trio, highlighting the computer’s preference for the home side.
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