Juventus ready to face Chelsea
Turin, Italy – Midfielder Claudio Marchisio says Juventus are ready for the “biggest game of the year” against Champions League holders Chelsea in a fixture that is a must-win deal for both sides.
Antonio Conte's former two-time winners sit third in Group H one point behind the English giants and second-placed Ukrainians Shakhtar Donetsk.
Although Chelsea are also in danger if they don't emerge with three points from Juventus Stadium on Tuesday, Marchisio says the Old Lady of Turin will pull out all the stops to take a major step towards the last 16 knockout phase.
“It's the biggest game of the year for us,” Marchisio said here Monday.
“We really want to go through to the next round. It won't be easy against the defending champions, especially after they strengthened the team in the summer.
“But challenges like this really get us fired up. I hope the fans will be there with us as they are when we play at home in Serie A.”
Defeat would prove a hammer blow to Chelsea's title defence and Juve's fans have some reason to hope.
The Blues, who are missing injured captain John Terry, have won only once before in Italy in the Champions League and come to Turin on the back of a 2-1 defeat to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
Roberto Di Matteo's side has also leaked 17 goals in their last eight matches in all competitions, nearly double teh number of goals conceded in their eight previous games.
Juve's Montenegrin striker Mirko Vucinic, meanwhile, remains a major doubt as he continues to fight flu-like symptoms which have prevented him from even training.
But Angelo Alessio, Juve's stand-in coach while Antonio Conte serves a lengthy suspension, said he is unconcerned.
“We've recently scored 10 goals in two games, and we continue to create scoring chances,” said Alessio. “Whoever plays (in Vucinic's place) will be ready whether he has played a lot or hardly at all.”
Sebastian Giovinco is a likely starter up front in a 3-5-2
formation and could be joined by either Fabio Quagliarella, Alessandro Matri or Dane Nicklas Bendtner.
With Juve trailing 2-1 at Stamford Bridge at the start of the group phase, Quagliarella came off the bench to score a fine equaliser to level the scores 2-2. – Sapa-AFP