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Chelsea - Juventus Preview: Blues look to repeat home comforts that propelled them to last year's title
Roberto Di Matteo will look to repeat the stunning heroics that lead the west Londoners to the Champions League title, beginning with a tie with the unbeatable Bianconeri
By James Burford
Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole
Ramires, Mikel, Lampard
Hazard, Torres, Mata
Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini
Lichtsteiner Pirlo, Asamoah
Chelsea begin the defence of their Champions League title against Italian champions Juventus, with both sides leading their respective leagues after an impressive opening few weeks of the season.
John Terry and Ashley Cole (both ankle) have shaken off knocks that ruled them out of England encounters during the international break and will feature against the Bianconeri. Roberto Di Matteo should also welcome back Juan Mata following the Spaniard's absence from the 0-0 draw against QPR at the weekend.
Juventus will be without former Inter defender Lucio (ankle) with Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini set to be partnered by Leonardo Bonucci at the back.
Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba is yet to make his Juventus debut but could feature after being included in the Old Lady's squad.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Chelsea won all six of their Champions League home games last season.
- The Blues have finished as group winners in seven of their last nine Champions League campaigns.
- Chelsea won the last meeting between the sides, claiming a 3-2 aggregate victory.
- Gianluigi Buffon will make his 400th appearance for Juventus if he features in Wednesday night's match.
- Juventus are currently on a 42-match unbeaten streak in Serie A, stretching back to the end of the 2010-11 season.
- Juventus are one of only two teams to have won the Champions League on home soil, the other is Borussia Dortmund.
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Top 3 Predictions
Chelsea FC 1-2 Juventus
- 18.26 %
Chelsea FC 2-1 Juventus
- 15.34 %
Chelsea FC 0-2 Juventus
- 11.04 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Nov 20, 2012||Juventus 3 - Chelsea FC 0|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Sep 19, 2012||Chelsea FC 2 - Juventus 2|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Mar 10, 2009||Juventus 2 - Chelsea FC 2|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Feb 25, 2009||Chelsea FC 1 - Juventus 0|
|May 15, 2013||Benfica 1 - Chelsea FC 2||EL|
|May 11, 2013||Aston Villa 1 - Chelsea FC 2||EPL|
|May 8, 2013||Chelsea FC 2 - Tottenham 2||EPL|
|May 5, 2013||Man Utd. 0 - Chelsea FC 1||EPL|
|May 2, 2013||Chelsea FC 3 - Basel 1||EL|
|12||John Obi Mikel||Midfielder|
The now reinvigorated frontman is really starting to repay the millions Roman Abramovich paid for him. It was not long ago that Torres looked lethargic, unhappy and clueless, but now the Spaniard cannot seem to put a foot wrong. As he thrives on the service from Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Ramires, he continues to look more and more unplayable.
As against England at Euro 2012, the Italian maestro will look to rule proceedings once more. Although diminutive in stature, Pirlo more than makes up for it in presence. He makes his team-mates play better and for that reason, Chelsea should watch out.
Both sides have displayed plenty of defensive aptitude in recent months, with Chelsea the current Champions League holders and Juventus on an unbelievable undefeated run. With that in mind, goals may be hard to come by at Stamford Bridge, but that shouldn't detract from what will surely be an entertaining game.