Champions League

What Chelsea can expect from Juventus in the Champions League

Max Cooper
Juventus have struggled at the start of this season
Juventus have struggled at the start of this season / MB Media/Getty Images

The prospect of taking on Juventus has always sent shivers down the spines of opposition supporters in the past, faced with the daunting task of toppling a side that hasn't been in the habit of losing for an entire decade.

However, the Old Lady's reputation as a cold-blooded killer of football matches has waned over the past 24 months, to the point that they have lost that fear factor in their own backyard against Serie A's minnows.

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It was previously unthinkable that a newly-promoted side would rock up in Turin and actively try not to lose against the Bianconeri, but the times they are-a-changin', as Empoli proved at the start of the new campaign.

Juve have kicked off the new season in dire fashion, failing to win in their first four matches, and then scraping to two 3-2 victories over Spezia and Sampdoria. They're underperforming upon the return of Massimiliano Allegri, but these levels can't last forever.

So, what should European champions Chelsea expect when they take on the Bianconeri on Wednesday and on matchday five of this year's Champions League group stages?

1. A divided unit

Leonardo Bonucci , Giorgio Chiellini and Danilo Luiz Da...
Not going to plan at the back / Insidefoto/Getty Images

In what feels like the most un-Juventus trait that this current edition of the Old Lady holds, they're just not very good at defending. There are clangers being dropped throughout the side, with particular focus falling on Wojciech Szczesny, who has relapsed into the 2014 Arsenal version of himself.

The defence is in chaos, conceding 10 goals in six matches, and the Euro 2020 winning combination of Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini cannot cut it with the demands of domestic football.

The full-back areas are of major concern for supporters, so getting in down the flanks would be Chelsea's best bet to penetrating this Juve side.

2. A bonafide superstar

Federico Chiesa
An unbelievable talent / Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

While the defence is at sixes and sevens, there is one man in attack who is second to none. Federico Chiesa is a genuine superstar, and his ability to grab games by the scruff of their neck makes him one to watch.

Euro 2020 viewers were wowed by his blistering pace, brilliant direct running and ruthless finishing, and he is threatening to only get better with each passing contest.

Allegri will be instructing Juve's stars to pick out Chiesa at every opportunity, so the Blues will have to do a job on the winger and stop him from making an impact on proceedings. Easier said than done, however.

3. A midfield in progress

Manuel Locatelli
The man to carry the midfield / Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

If the 3-2 victory over Sampdoria taught us anything last weekend, it's that Manuel Locatelli was the best bit of business that Juve have done for years. The 23-year-old is exactly what they've been missing in midfield, and he showed his quality in Turin.

The Italian star is capable of playing in every role in the midfield, and his ability to score goals, dictate play and break up opposition attacks makes him a Jack and master of all trades.

Chelsea's main strength comes in their solid midfield selections of Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic or N'Golo Kante, and they'll have to be on top of their game to keep Locatelli on the periphery.

4. Lack of a goalscorer

Alvaro Morata
Not a reliable source of goals / Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

Although Juve boast some serious creative depth in attack, with the likes of Chiesa, Paulo Dybala and Dejan Kulusevski at the fore, they do lack a natural scorer in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Moise Kean is taking some time getting back up to speed following his return from Everton, leaving Alvaro Morata - a doubt for Wednesday with a knock - as their only legitimate centre-forward option.

The Spaniard is known for his inconsistency and knack for squandering very score-able opportunities, meaning the creative forwards need to work even harder to carve out enough chances for him to get on the scoresheet.

It shouldn't be too tough an evening for the Chelsea centre-backs.

5. Team in transition

Massimiliano Allegri
Not an idyllic return / Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

Overall, this is a Juventus side very much in transition. The players are still taking on board Allegri's ideas - and they are finding some difficulties in following his instructions.

The Italian coach lost his rag with his players after the draw with Milan, swearing at his stars for ignoring his demands during the game. Things can only get better for Juve after this bumpy start - and they will.

So, Chelsea's best chance to claim three points will probably come in Wednesday's trip to Turin, as the Old Lady may have pulled herself together by the time they meet again at Stamford Bridge for matchday five.