Juventus vs. Chelsea: Slumping Blues Offense Will Break out Against Juve Defense

Guido FargiorgioCorrespondent INovember 20, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 19:  Arturo Vidal of Juventus and Frank Lampard of Chelsea battle for the ball during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between Chelsea and Juventus at Stamford Bridge on September 19, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

If the Juventus defense continues to play the way they have, Chelsea could finally see the offensive renaissance they desperately need.

Juventus and Chelsea will meet in an all-important Champions League contest Tuesday afternoon that could all but decide the group, and it's the team who can put behind their most recent shortcomings that will come out on top in this contest.

With both teams needing a win in this game, expect to see them each to try to expose the other's weaknesses. Coincidentally, their weaknesses are opposites.

Juventus' defense has been struggling. It has yet to cost them their top spot in the Italian league, but it has become noticeable for any fans of the Italian game that Juventus is not quite the defensive team they were last season.

Their back three—Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini­—have all looked sloppy, rushed and out of position at times. It's normal to see ebbs and flows for defenders, especially given what Juventus achieved last season, but it has been a far cry from that success.

On the other side, Chelsea's offense has also been struggling. With Didier Drogba no longer part of the squad, the bulk of the Blues offense was supposed to come from Fernando Torres. Unfortunately, he has continued to be a disappointment.

In the Champions League, the two teams have been in average form. They could both still advance, but they aren't alone, thanks to the surprise play of Shaktar Donetsk, and they have both been able to get by without any real challenge.

Ties and beating up on lowly Nordsjelland (apologies to their fans), does not appease the fans who were expecting more out of both teams.

We all should be expecting more, and hopefully, we will get it when these two sides meet Tuesday afternoon. The last time they played, it was an exciting contest, albeit a tie, that gave everyone promise that the strength of these two sides would see them grappling for first place in the group.

Now, with only one other game left, this game is make or break for either squad. Juventus and Chelsea are both struggling to find the form that made both teams powerhouses last season. Either Juve's defense rebounds or Chelsea's attack breaks out. 

My money is on Chelsea's attack.

Sure, Fernando Torres has been a massive failure so far for the Blues, but, thankfully, Chelsea's Champions League success has not been contingent on Torres. Oscar has been the key man for Chelsea's attack, and the young Brazilian will be looking to continue this success in the rematch with Juventus. Remember, it was his two great goals that put the Blues ahead 2-0 the last time, before Juventus would tie the game.

Juventus will have a hard time controlling Oscar. Already without a potent offense of their own to take pressure off the defense, the defense will have to step up to control the game. If the likes of Eden Hazard and Juan Mata are controlling the flanks, which I believe they would against weaker competition from Juve's wingers, then Juve will have focus on keeping the middle glued together.

This is what could ultimately be Juve's downfall. For however strong their defense was last season, it has been leaky and frail lately. With Oscar controlling the show in the middle, Juventus is without someone able to bully and keep him in check.

The two team's weaknesses match up, and it's tough to say that this will be decisive in either team's favor, but some one will win. It may not be big, but I expect Chelsea's struggling offense to look much better than Juventus' shaky defense.