Champions League Second Round Second Leg Preview: Juventus vs Chelsea

by
Snoop Droggy Droggy Drog

Snoop Droggy Droggy Drog

First Leg Summary

Guus Hiddink managed to get Chelsea back to what they were known best for doing under Mourinho – getting the job done. The Blues controlled the first half, making Juve look the ageing team rather than experienced opponents. Chelsea took the lead in the twelfth minute through Dider Drogba, who suddenly seems like he wants to play for Chelsea again now that the mercurial Dutchman has taken charge. The journeyman of international football management was less impressed with his team’s second half performance. As the game wore on Ranieri’s Juventus were able to to take the initiative and nearly got a share of the spoils via a Pavel Nedved effort in injury time.

Chelsea on the up

I queried the ability of Hiddink to turn things around so quickly at Chelsea but I was obviously wrong. Chelsea have won five in five and Guus has demonstrated that sometimes the biggest clubs simply need a change in psychological approach to start achieving results. He has got the team playing with more purpose and Drogba now looks back to his best, inspired self. The return of Michael Essien is also a massive boost for the Blues (as well as Ricardo Carvalho), although it is unlikely he will feature prominently against Juventus following such a lengthy period out of action.

Sissoko-less Juve and Ranieri banter with Mourinho

The Bianconieri notched up a 1-0 derby win against Torino at the weekend, keeping them in touch with Inter at the top of Serie A, the emphasis being on in touch, not really competing. The bad news for Claudio Ranieri is that Momo Sissoko is likely to be injured for the rest of the season after picking up a metatarsal injury. Considering the likes of Nedved are showing their age, the hustle and bustle style of Sissoko will be missed in the return leg against Chelsea. Tiago did well enough in the first leg but their will be a big ask of him and Christian Poulsen on Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, Ranieri has got into another spat with Jose Mourinho, this time over comments relating to refereeing decisions. That is a bit of a touchy subject over in Italy, what with Juve being found guilty three years ago. Luckily for Claudio, Guus Hiddink is way too nice to get involved with those kind of mind games!

Tactical Analysis

In the first leg, Chelsea’s players were superior to Juventus in almost every position, apart from Del Piero, who will have reminded the Stamford Bridge faithful of their days watching Zola in his twilight years. Nicolas Anelka, should he be unavailable, will be missed for his all-round quality but may suit Drogba, who seems to excel  when the main man up front. Kalou will be a threat for Chelsea on the counter-attack and I foresee Juventus’ less than mobile backline being stretched by the Blues’ triumvirate attack.

Ranieri will look to the last twenty minutes at Stamford Bridge for his tactical inspiration. Juve can threaten Chelsea with their width, keeping the ball away from the middle of the park, where Lampard, Mikel and Ballack provide formidable opposition. Amauri looked dangerous, his height, strength and aerial ability even giving the likes of Terry and Alex problems. Ranieri has had the balls to gamble in the past and he will have to go for broke against Chelsea from the outset rather than allow them to take the initiative.

Prediction

I predicted Juve to go through before the first leg but having seen Chelsea in the past five games, they look like a side that will do enough even if some of the cracks have been papered over in the short term. This one could go down to away goals so I will go for a 2-1 Juventus win.

A word for the Tinkerman

You can’t hate Claudio Ranieri. He is such an affable fellow that he could even out-do Gianfranco Zola in the niceties department. Nevertheless, you can’t really call him a winner. He did very well with limited resources at Chelsea and Parma but in the quest for trophies he seems to come up short (apart from a Copa Italia with Fiorentina and Copa del Rey with Valencia over ten years ago). Does any of this matter? It is up to Claudio to prove me wrong like Guus did.

The chance of winning something provokes this face everytime

The chance of winning something provokes this face everytime

 

P.

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One Response to “Champions League Second Round Second Leg Preview: Juventus vs Chelsea”

  1. http://www.moneybonzai.info Says:

    Chelsea are the better squad here no doubts about that, especially with Drogba rejuvenated and rediscovering his old form. Plus the sounds coming from the Juventus camp are not very optimistic, and if the manager (who knows Chelsea better than most people) are playing down their chances, there is probably a good reason why.

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