Juventus vs. Chelsea: 6 Things We Learned
Juventus secured a vital victory in the Champions League to push the champions toward the exit.
Chelsea mixed it with the Bianconeri in the opening stages, but Juve began to gain a stranglehold on the game as the match went on, claiming the three points that puts qualification in their hands.
The Bianconeri just need a point away to Shakhtar in the final match to secure progression from Group E, as they hold a superior head-to-head record over the Blues. Chelsea must beat Nordsjaelland and hope that the Ukrainians can do them a favour and beat the Italian champions.
Here are six things we learned from the game.
Kwadwo Asamoah Is Becoming One of the Most Dangerous Players in Europe
Kwadwo Asamoah was bought from Udinese this summer where he had thrived as a centre midfielder.
Antonio Conte, with an embarrassment of midfield options, decided to turn the Ghanaian into a left midfielder.
The move has been a revelation and Asamoah is proving to be one of the best in Europe in this role. It is scary to think that he is actually better through the middle.
Asamoah was able to drive at Branislav Ivanovic throughout the match, using his searing pace and power to knock the ball past the Serbian and deliver dangerous crosses into the penalty area.
With strikers willing to drop deep or pull wide, such as Sebastian Giovinco and Mirko Vucinic, Asamoah is able to combine well and drive into the middle when afforded the opportunity.
Eden Hazard Is Not the Answer in Attack—for Now
Eden Hazard was selected to start ahead of Fernando Torres in attack for Chelsea against Juventus in a move that left many bemused.
Torres deserved to be left out of the lineup, but his replacement was a troubling matter for Roberto Di Matteo, who did not have any obvious alternatives at his disposal.
Daniel Sturridge was absent through injury, which begs the question as to why Romelu Lukaku was allowed to leave on loan when no reinforcements were summoned.
Hazard has played the role of a "false nine" before, sometimes with the Belgium national team, but for him to be effective, Chelsea needed to provide plenty of support from the deeper areas and service on the deck, rather than in the air.
Chelsea would have to sacrifice width if they were to pursue this idea any further, as Cesar Azpilicueta and Juan Mata, to an extent, left the former Lille star isolated in the middle.
A Christmas tree formation might be a solution that Di Matteo experiments with moving forward, as Torres' form does not look like improving at all.
Juventus Could Win the Champions League
Juventus entered this Champions League campaign without a clear idea of where their expectations should realistically lie.
The Bianconeri were sensational last season—claiming the scudetto in an undefeated season—but without European action, the true quality of this side remained somewhat of a mystery.
Juve are unbeaten in the Champions League, despite facing two difficult opponents and are showing what a quality outfit they really are. Only one area can be highlighted as being somewhat mediocre and that is the attack.
Fabio Quagliarella is in the midst of a purple patch while Mirko Vucinic is one of the most technically gifted players in Italy, but Sebastian Giovinco is still not proven at a club of Juve's stature, so this might be an area that Juve look to strengthen in the January transfer market.
If they can add a potent goal scorer to an already formidable squad, Juve can realistically stand a chance of winning the Champions League.
Ramires Is One of Europe's Most Athletic Players
Without Ramires, Chelsea might have been further embarrassed at the Juventus Stadium due to the Brazilian's incredible athleticism, stamina and pace to be able to extinguish many Juve counterattacks.
The former Benfica star covered an enormous amount of ground to be able to prevent the game from getting out of hand before Sebastian Giovinco ensured the score line was probably as emphatic as the game itself.
As Chelsea went for it, throwing on Fernando Torres in place of Jon Obi Mikel, Ramires was left isolated with Oscar his only help against what many would consider the best midfield in Europe.
It is a credit to Ramires that Chelsea were still in the game in the closing stages despite opening up, as he disrupted the Bianconeri counterattacks and initiated Chelsea's own.
Who would you say can match Chelsea's midfielder for athleticism? Kwadwo Asamoah? Yaya Toure?
Fernando Torres Is Done at Chelsea
It is fair to assume after Chelsea's 3-0 defeat to Juventus that Fernando Torres' future at Chelsea is over.
The Spaniard was omitted from the starting lineup, despite no natural alternative at the manager's disposal due to Daniel Sturridge's injury.
In the Blues' biggest match of the season so far, their £50 million signing could not be trusted to deliver the goods, so unless Roberto Di Matteo is fired, Torres' future looks very bleak.
Rafael Benitez has been immediately linked with the Blues' hot seat if Pep Guardiola shuns the overtures from Roman Abramovich, and it is only this scenario where you can imagine the Spaniard rekindling his Liverpool form at Stamford Bridge.
Roberto Di Matteo Is Not the Man to Deliver Winning Attractive Football
Roberto Di Matteo confirmed against Juventus that he is not the man capable of delivering success for the Blues along with free-flowing, attacking football.
We have witnessed some lovely play from the Blues this season, but it is becoming apparent that this is likely due to an abundance of technically gifted players rather than attacking tactics from the Italian manager.
Decisions when not afforded a fully fit squad or a tactical dilemma such as only needing a point at the Juventus Stadium to maintain control on their destiny in Europe have shown Di Matteo's true colours.
Di Matteo selected Ryan Bertrand as a winger in the Champions League final and he replicated such a move tonight by opting for Cesar Azpilicueta as a right-winger to double up on the dangerous Kwadwo Asamoah.
Eden Hazard as a "false nine" might not be conceived as totally negative when you consider Fernando Torres' form, but Di Matteo might have selected the likes of Victor Moses ahead of Azpilicueta in order to maintain an attacking balance to the formation.
It is not always a manager with bold, risky tactics that produces attacking football, but establishing a solid foundation to the side that keeps clean sheets can give the attacking players more license to work their magic.
With the Blues persistently leaking goals at the back without John Terry, the burden to rush their attacks in pursuit of an equaliser or a goal to get back into the game is hurting the side.
Ultimately then, Di Matteo must be held accountable and as all managers know under Roman Abramovich, time is precious.