Juventus-Chelsea: Five Questions for Bianconeri Glory

Danny PenzaSenior Writer IFebruary 20, 2009

To say that Juventus haven't been playing well for the last month would be a pretty logical thought that few would oppose.

However, Juve have been in this situation before this season.

Back in October, ironically in the same part of the schedule as they are in right now, their form was less than stellar, and then all of a sudden things just clicked when Real Madrid came to Turin.

And if Juve wants to revive their season once again, they will have to vastly improve their form and get off to a good start against Chelsea in the Champions League at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

1. Can the defense regain its former identity?

Juventus have gone from one of the better defensive teams in Serie A to having one of the most inconsistent in a matter of weeks.

Mental lapses, stupid turnovers — anything and everything have plagued the Juve defense the past five weeks.

Gianluigi Buffon may be back and getting back to his status as the world's best, but the question remains whether Giorgio Chiellini will be at full fitness when Wednesday rolls around.

If Chiellini is completely healthy, that will mean fellow centerback Nicola Legrottaglie won't have to be the main man in the middle. He will also have back his usual partner in the center. There is no doubt that when they are paired together, they are two of the best in Italy.

2. Can Alessandro Del Piero work his magic once again?

The bigger the game, the bigger Del Piero's impact has been for Juventus this season.

Three of his four goals in the group stages came against Real Madrid and there is no reason to think why the 34-year-old captain won't be an important part if Juve are successful against Chelsea.

However, like most of the regulars, Del Piero has been struggling to find form in recent weeks and will be looking to snap out of his funk and, if not find the back of the net himself, setup one of his teammates.

3. Who will play alongside Del Piero up front — Amauri or Trezeguet?

After a blazing start to his Juve career, the 28-year-old Brazilian striker has come back down to earth and is struggling to find the back of the net at the moment, only scoring once in 2009.

In the other corner you have David Trezeguet, who is finally getting back to being 100 percent healthy after missing all but one game in the Serie A's first half and the Champions League's group stage.

They are two big strikers but possess different styles.

Amauri can score goals and also bring some physical presence to the forward position. Trezeguet, on the other hand, is your classic poacher. He can go absent for 65 minutes and then all the sudden he's putting one in the back of the net.

It was Trezeguet's injury that allowed Amauri to become a regular in the starting lineup, but could the French hitman replace the man who replaced him?

4. Can Claudio Ranieri save Juve's season once again?

He is again under fire for Juve's poor January form that has carried into February. It's ironically in the same spot of the schedule as the last time Juve sputtered into a Champions League affair.

The pressure will be on Ranieri to have his current team prepared to face his former one and come out victorious.

Ranieri's decision whether to play his "Old Guard" or mix things up and be the man who got the reputation for tinkering his lineup will be the key to determine how he is going tactically play the match.

5. Who will be in the center of the midfield?

The position on the field where injuries have been felt the most this season for Juventus is finally back to full strength.

Mauro Camoranesi and Pavel Nedved will likely start on the wings, but the question remains who will be in the center of the park Wednesday night.

Will Ranieri go with the creative pair of Claudio Marchisio and Tiago or defensive minded Cristian Poulsen and Momo Sissoko?

If you want to go with what Ranieri has done most of the season, it will be Marchisio and Sissoko.

However, when he has played this year, the much-maligned Tiago has been productive and combining him with Marchisio, a player who does everything well, would allow the team to push the ball forward as well as be sound in front of the defense.


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