Juventus v Chelsea, Champions League last 16, second leg, March 10, 2009
Peaking at the right time is crucial, and Chelsea are bubbling right on cue. It’s now five out of five for Guus Hiddink and momentum is building steadily at Chelsea for a final push as we head into the money time of the season.
It is nip/tuck whether Michael Essien and Ricardo Carvalho will start at the Stadio Olimpico on Tuesday night but should the pair return Juve’s job of breaching the Blues’ backline will be made that much harder (Juve are 4/11 to score in 90 minutes). And the Old Lady will know that, having failed to score in their last three Champions League home matches against English sides, that is scoring against Chelsea is no simple problem to overcome.
Claudio Ranieri will also likely have to get his tactics spot-on if he is to outsmart a Chelsea side lining-up 4-5-1. The absence of Nicolas Anelka should see Didier Drogba (three goals in his last four games and 7/4 to score in Italy) lead the line, with Kalou, Ballack, Lampard, Malouda and Essien/Mikel packing out the centre of the park. Hiddink will have his team perfectly set out for a counter-attacking game, the onus being on Juve to come out an attack.
With his forwards in mind it was noticeable that the Tinkerman rotated his squad at the weekend, Alessandro Del Piero and David Trezeguet got the day off at Torino, while Pavel Nedved started on the bench. The only downside for Ranieri was seeing Momo Sissoko, so crucial in the defensive role for Juve, withdrawn injured due toÂ a broken metatarsal that could have prematurely ended his season.
Juve have been experiencing some erratic form of late having won three and lost two of their last five games. But they will be hoping that there historical form in the Champions League will come to the fore, the Old Lady are unbeaten in the last 13 matches at home, winning 10 and conceding just three goals.
101predicts: Juventus 1 – Chelsea 1 (11/2)
Alternative bet: Under 2.5 goals (8/15)
Full match odds from 888sport here.