Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Juventus v Chelsea - Preview

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Chelsea will look to put their domestic woes aside when they travel to Juventus in what could be a decisive encounter in UEFA Champions League Group E.

The Blues sit joint-top of the pool with Shakhtar Donetsk, who lead on goal difference, while Juve are just a point behind in third, meaning the group is open for the taking.

Defeat in Turin would leave Chelsea on the brink of becoming the first Champions League holders not to secure a place in the knockout stage, having taken qualification for granted during the Roman Abramovich era.

The Blues will therefore be pushing for three points in Italy, with a surprise defeat in the Premier League on Saturday having left them desperate to get things back on track.

Chelsea suffered a shock loss at West Brom to leave them four league games without success and four points adrift of leaders Manchester City.

Juve struck twice to come back from two goals down and record a draw last time the two sides met earlier in the campaign and Roberto Di Matteo's men will be keen to avenge that setback.

However Juventus are sweating on the fitness of Mirko Vucinic, who has been battling flu-like symptoms, although the striker trained on Monday afternoon. Alate decision will be made on his fitness.

The Italian champions are expected to line up in a 3-5-2 formation, with Fabio Quagliarella, Alessandro Matri and Nicklas Bendtner vying to partner Sebastian Giovinco if Vucinic fails to make it.

Roberto Di Matteo will decide whether to axe Fernando Torres for the crunch clash.

Torres was hauled off during Saturday's Premier League defeat at West Brom after another miserable performance and Di Matteo could start Daniel Sturridge in his place in Turin.

Ashley Cole should return after recovering from his hamstring injury, as should several other rested players but John Terry (knee) and Frank Lampard (calf) were left in London.

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