Juventus v Chelsea: Four talking points ahead of Turin showdown
Juventus v Chelsea: Harry Kemble takes a look at four talking points ahead of the Blues' trip to the Juventus Stadium
Win and all will be forgotten – well, almost
Chelsea’s form has been patchy since beating Tottenham 4-2 in late October. Losses to Manchester United, Shakhtar Donetsk and West Bromwich Albion on Saturday have been coupled with disappointing draws to Swansea and Liverpool. Yet, a last gasp Victor Moses’ winner in the return fixture against Shakhtar kept the defending champions in control of their own destiny in Europe. Avoiding a loss in Turin will ensure Chelsea have one foot in the next round with their final group game against bottom-placed Nordsjaelland next month.
Juventus’ contrasting form
The Old Lady are sitting pretty on the top of Serie A, four points ahead of Inter Milan in second. Despite the blue half of Milan ending Juve’s sensational 49-game unbeaten run two weeks ago, the Turin side’s recent form – in contrast to Chelsea – has been good. Ten goals in all competitions in their last three matches, including a 6-1 demolition of Pescara, means Juventus are addressing their only area of concern – goal scoring. Juventus have had 12 different goal scorers this season but are still to identify an out and out 20 goals-a-season striker. Juve needed 33 attempts to find the net in their 1-1 draw away to FC Nordsjaelland last month. Their problem in front of goal has led Juventus to being linked with ex-Chelsea star Didier Drogba.
Fernando Torres – last chance saloon
Didier Drogba is one name Fernando Torres does not have to contend with any more after the 34-year-old’s move to Shanghai Shenhua over the summer. However, while Torres’ lack of goals continues, big spenders Chelsea will be forever linked with Europe’s cream of striking talent. Since his arrival in January 2011, the Spaniard’s saving grace was his ability to support his team-mates winning second balls, defending set plays and assists. But a return of just 18 goals in 86 appearances means the writing is on the wall for Torres when the transfer window re-opens. Some have mooted at a swap deal involving highly rated Atletico Madrid’s Radamel Falcao with Torres returning to Madrid. Unless the striker starts scoring regularly, and more importantly on the big stage, Chelsea’s season and Torres’ career will nose-dive.
Roberto Di Matteo’s November Blues
Chelsea are in the midst of a disappointing loss of form. Roberto Di Matteo is not the first Blues manager to experience this inexplicable dip in results during the month of November. The weekend’s dismal loss away to West Brom saw murmurings that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich was preparing to wield the axe. However, Chelsea’s next four games are, as ever, vitally important – Juventus, Manchester City at home, then two London derbies against Fulham and West Ham. If Di Matteo can guide his team through the November, unlike several Chelsea managers before him, there is no reason why this can end up as no more than a slump.