Who: Juventus FC at Chelsea FC
What: UEFA Champions League Group Stage
Where: Stamford Bridge, London, England
When: Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Weather: The Weather Channel Forecast
Time: 19:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET/11:45 a.m. PT
TV: Fox Soccer Channel (USA)/Sky Sports HD 2 (UK)
Referee: Pedro Proenca (Portugal)
2-Way Odds: Chelsea -½ +115, Juventus +½ -135
3-Way Odds: Chelsea +115, Juventus +250, Draw +225
Total: Over 2½ +125, Under 2½ -145
Source: LVH SuperBook, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Chelsea begins defense of its European title on Wednesday when it welcomes Juventus to Stamford Bridge in the opening match of UEFA Champions League group stage play.
Juventus were champions of Italy’s Serie A last season going undefeated in the league with a 23-15-0 mark and are slowly putting themselves in the conversation of the best clubs in Europe.
Juve struggled for a 3-1 at Genoa on Sunday and needed late goals from usual starters Mirko Vucinic and Kwadwo Asamoah to remain unbeaten in Serie A.
Chelsea also played average at best this past weekend in a 0-0 draw against QPR in the west London derby on Saturday but still remain unbeaten in the English Premier League (3-1-0, 10 points) and atop the standings by a single point.
Both clubs come into this match with a little bit of trepidation as neither side wants to start off group stage play with a loss, so expect a tight and low-scoring affair here with two of the world’s best goalkeepers—Juventus’s Gianluigi Buffon and Chelsea’s Petr Čech—holding the fort down on their ends of the pitch.
Two great playmakers will also be on display here in Andrea Pirlo (Juventus) and Eden Hazard (Chelsea) and surely will be the focus of each opposition’s defense.
After losing to Atlético Madrid in the Super Cup and then struggling with QPR, there are certainly some doubts in the heads of Chelsea supporters and, like last season, scoring seems to be the main issue of concern.
With so many new parts added to his club, Blues manager Roberto Di Matteo is still trying to find out who fits in where and his club will certainly be tested by defense-oriented Juventus in this contest on Wednesday.
Scoring should be at an absolute premium in this one and nothing more boring than predicting a game without a goal, but I’m going to stick with my guns on this one.
This should be a good, hard football by both clubs for 90 minutes, but not much entertainment value in the end with both sides likely gaining a point then looking forward to their next matches in the tournament on October 2 (Chelsea at FC Nordsjælland and Shakhtar Donetsk at Juventus).
PROJECTED JUVENTUS LINEUP: Gianluigi Buffon, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Kwadwo Asamoah, Arturo Vidal, Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio, Sebastian Giovinco, Mirko Vucinic.
PROJECTED CHELSEA LINEUP: Petr Čech, Branislav Ivanović, David Luiz, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Oriol Romeu, John Obi Mikel, Ramires, Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, Fernando Torres.
PREDICTION: Chelsea 0 Juventus 0
BET: Under 2½ -145
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