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Goal.com has a look at the key battles which could win the game for either sides in this exciting Champions League clash

With Match Day 5 of the Champions League games approaching, it isn’t early days any more. A slip here and any of the so called “favourites” could be seen plying their trade in the Europa League for the rest of the season. Most of the groups have been incredibly close and one of them has surely been the one with the defending champions.

A group comprising of Italian champions Juventus, Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk and newbies Nordsjælland haven’t made life easy for Chelsea. They have seven points to show for from four games on par with Shakhtar albeit behind the Ukrainians on goal difference. Juventus are not far behind with 6 points although they are yet to visit Shakhtar which is always a tough job at hand. Nordsjælland, on the other hand have only drawn to Juventus at home leaving them with only a point to show for.

As most would have predicted, this group would be decided by the two clashes between the Juventus and Chelsea, the only difference being that the clash is realistically deciding who finishes as runner up to a ruthless Shakhtar. With this scintillating clash awaiting us this mid week, Goal.com here analyses the three key battles on the pitch which might decide the hugely anticipated clash of Juventus vs Chelsea.

Arturo Vidal
vs Oscar

These are two players that most fans are in awe of. One is the typical defensive midfielder who is hard in the tackle, breaks up play with relative ease and has quality passing where as the other is a typical Brazilian who has flair in his blood. With both set to face off against each other, the one who dominates here will take his team a long way in the exciting clash.

Vidal will certainly be wary of Oscar considering the amount of damage he has proved he can do if and when he is given time and space on the ball. Oscar’s calm passing and link up play will test the Chilean to the core. Looking at the difference in physicality of the two, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Oscar does manage to draw a lot of fouls from him around the penalty area. Oscar also has to ensure that Vidal doesn't make those late runs into the box while Ramires and Mikel keep a track of Pirlo and Marchisio.

Andrea Pirlo
vs John Obi Mikel

The Italian has been a mainstay for both club and country. The recent rise of Juventus can be attributed to him largely as he controls the play sitting deep in midfield. This pass master has been the spine of whichever team he has played for. Although performances haven't been as good as the previous season, clashes like these are what experienced players are made for. Pirlo will yet again attempt (and in all probabilities succeed) to spray the ball across the park and control the proceedings.

The only plausible method taken by Mikel to stop his involvement in the game will be to cut off the supply to him. This will most certainly involve help from his fellow midfielder in the form of Ramires who will run down every pass that is channeled via the former Milan midfielder. Mikel and Ramires will need to run around chasing the passes is what is required to take the game to the Italians in their backyard. Does anyone remember Park Ji-Sung's performance against Pirlo in the 2008-09 season when he man-marked the Milan playmaker and nullified his influence?

Fabio Quagliarella
vs Gary Cahill

The chances of Gary Cahill starting this clash in the heart of Chelsea’s defense are real simply because of John Terry’s injury and the other one being the awful performances David Luiz has been putting in lately. With Cahill and Ivanovic the only other recognized centre-backs, both can be expected to start. This pits in Cahill directly against Quagliarella.

Both are strong aerially. Quagliarella has got a strong shot on his right while Cahill is one of the best blockers in the Premier League. Quagliarella is an astute dribbler, Cahill has good anticipation and is adept at dealing with them.  

The 29-year old is in rich vein of form having scored six goals in nine appearances in the Serie A and has twice been the super-sub for his side by scoring two crucial goals in the Champions League. On the other hand, Cahill would hope that his positioning improves when facing Quagliarella given that the latter isn't one of those strikers who holds up the ball, as was observed in his battle against Shane Long of West Brom.

This duel could very well be the one deciding the game and whichever way it goes, it promises to be a scintillating clash between two giants of European football.

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