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After maintaining their three-point lead at the top of the Premier League table with a routine win at Leicester City on Saturday, in-form Chelsea will shift their focus to prolonging their defence of the Champions League trophy they lifted for the second time last May.
Sitting second in the group behind this week’s opponents, their only defeat so far came in a close-fought encounter at the Allianz Stadium back in September, as a 1-0 Juventus win was secured by Federico Chiesa‘s goal at the start of the second half.
Those were the only points dropped by the Blues to date, after an opening win at home to Zenit was followed by dominant victories against Malmo on each of the last two matchdays. Though Thomas Tuchel‘s men only prevailed by a single goal in Sweden last time out, they assumed complete control once again, and won the two games by a 5-0 aggregate scoreline.
The Blues’ league form since first disposing of the Allsvenskan champions will give Tuesday’s visitors serious cause for concern too, as they strode to a 7-0 victory over Norwich City and put three past both Newcastle and Leicester. Those goals have been coming from all quarters of a confident side, as Chelsea’s 30 Premier League strikes this term have been scored by 15 different players.
Tuchel ensures they keep things tight at the back as well, with the capital club having kept six clean sheets in their last eight matches. Not only that, but they are also yet to concede more than once in any game during the 2021-22 campaign.
Such defensive solidity – and a forbiddingly deep squad – means that they will be one of the teams to avoid in the draw for the last 16, should they confirm their place in the coming weeks. With fixtures piling up between here and Christmas, their head coach will want to do so at the first possible opportunity.
Having been without both of his main strikers following injuries suffered on Champions League duty, Thomas Tuchel has been able to welcome back both Romelu Lukaku (ankle) and Timo Werner (thigh) to training in recent days.
While Werner was an unused substitute at Leicester on Saturday and could now start, Lukaku is unlikely to feature yet, as he maps out a cautious return to first-team action.
Several times a champion in this competition, Mateo Kovacic has been out since suffering a hamstring injury in training late last month, while wing-back Marcos Alonso only returned from an ankle injury at the weekend. The latter may be involved though; pressing Ben Chilwell for his place on the left.
Mason Mount missed England’s recent internationals after undergoing dental surgery but started in the Premier League and is expected to play in support of either Kai Havertz or Werner up front.
Juventus, meanwhile, are hoping to have Paulo Dybala at their disposal for the trip to London, and the diminutive striker remains hopeful of being involved at some stage.
His condition will be monitored regularly before the match, but Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey is sidelined again and captain Giorgio Chiellini‘s presence is once more in doubt due to an Achilles problem.
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Max Allegri also has concerns about Federico Bernardeschi, who was injured representing Italy, but Moise Kean is available and could feature up front should Dybala miss out. Scorer of the winner in the reverse fixture, Federico Chiesa is a more likely option to join Alvaro Morata in attack for the Bianconeri.
Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Mendy; Rudiger, Christensen, Silva; James, Jorginho, Kante, Alonso; Hudson-Odoi, Mount; Havertz
Juventus possible starting lineup:
Szczesny; Danilo, Bonucci, De Ligt, Sandro; Cuadrado, McKennie, Locatelli, Rabiot; Morata, Chiesa