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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Holders Chelsea progress to last 16

ART GALLERY

Trevor Chalobah’s opener was his third goal of the season – all have come at Stamford Bridge

Reigning champions Chelsea progressed to the last 16 of the Champions League with an impressive win against Juventus at Stamford Bridge.

Trevor Chalobah, who was making his first European start for the Blues, scored the opener when he slammed home a loose ball following a corner after 25 minutes.

Chelsea were dominant throughout and got the second goal their performance deserved when Reece James controlled a clearance and volleyed across Wojciech Szczesny into the far corner eight minutes into the second half.

A third soon followed with Juventus looking shell-shocked and all at sea defensively as a short, sharp interchange of passes gave Callum Hudson-Odoi the chance to slot home at the back post.

The scoring was completed when Hakim Ziyech capitalised on a mistake from Juve midfielder Weston McKennie to cross for Timo Werner to tap home in added time.

It is the Italian club’s heaviest defeat in the competition and demonstrated Chelsea’s status as a serious contender to retain the trophy they won against Premier League rivals Manchester City in May.

The three points send Chelsea to the top of Group H but they must match Juventus’ result in the final matchday on 8 December – when they travel to Zenit St Petersburg and Juventus host Malmo – in order to stay there.

The only concern for Thomas Tuchel and Chelsea were the withdrawals of N’Golo Kante in the first half and Ben Chilwell in the second period through injury, with the Blues set to face Manchester United on Sunday (16:30 GMT).

Solid defence, creative in attack

Chelsea have justifiably had a lot of praise for their defensive efficiency in the opening three months of the season and indeed since Tuchel arrived in January.

They have now conceded only 24 goals in Tuchel’s first 50 games in charge – a record for a manager in charge of a British club.

Tuchel’s side started on the front foot and were rarely threatened at the back apart from an outstanding acrobatic clearance from Thiago Silva after former Blues striker Alvaro Morata had dinked onrushing keeper Edouard Mendy shortly after Chalobah’s opener.

This performance also showcased Chelsea’s attacking threat and other teams will note that was the case even with Romelu Lukaku – included for the first time since 20 October – Timo Werner and Mason Mount all starting on the bench and Kai Havertz absent completely.

Chilwell should have opened the scoring in the opening two minutes but had an air shot at a loose ball, before Chalobah sent a header wide and James saw a free-kick saved.

Chalobah’s goal was another glimpse of his impressive instinct in front of goal – he has already scored twice in the Premier League this season – as he latched onto a loose ball and rifled an effort into the roof of the net.

James, Hudson-Odoi and Silva all saw efforts saved either side of the break before the England right-back superbly controlled a headed clearance, taking it away from the defender, before volleying past Szczesny and a couple of defenders who were attempting to get back.

The England defender joins Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah as the only Premier League player to have scored five goals and have five assists in all competitions this season.

Hudson-Odoi rounded off an excellent Chelsea performance with a composed finish after James, Hakim Ziyech and Ruben Loftus-Cheek combined in a slick move.

Werner’s goal was mere decoration, because it had long been certain that Chelsea’s unbeaten run in all competitions would be extended to 10 games.

It was a performance that delighted a boisterous Stamford Bridge crowd, enthused by a team that is top of the Premier League by three points, is in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals and is in the box seat to be top their Champions League group.

How to play

Rate players out of 10 throughout or after the game. The rater will close 30 minutes after the final whistle.

Rating range key1 = Give it up10 = Pure perfection

Chelsea

  1. Squad number16Player nameMendy

  2. Squad number14Player nameChalobah

  3. Squad number6Player nameThiago Silva

  4. Squad number2Player nameRüdiger

  5. Squad number24Player nameJames

  6. Squad number7Player nameKanté

  7. Squad number5Player nameJorginho

  8. Squad number21Player nameChilwell

  9. Squad number22Player nameZiyech

  10. Squad number20Player nameHudson-Odoi

  11. Squad number10Player namePulisic

  1. Squad number11Player nameWerner

  2. Squad number12Player nameLoftus-Cheek

  3. Squad number17Player nameSaúl

  4. Squad number19Player nameMount

  5. Squad number28Player nameAzpilicueta

Juventus

  1. Squad number1Player nameSzczesny

  2. Squad number11Player nameJu Cuadrado

  3. Squad number19Player nameBonucci

  4. Squad number4Player namede Ligt

  5. Squad number12Player nameAlex Sandro

  6. Squad number14Player nameMcKennie

  7. Squad number30Player nameBentancur

  8. Squad number27Player nameLocatelli

  9. Squad number25Player nameRabiot

  10. Squad number22Player nameChiesa

  11. Squad number9Player nameMorata

  1. Squad number5Player nameArthur

  2. Squad number10Player nameDybala

  3. Squad number18Player nameKean

  4. Squad number44Player nameKulusevski

  5. Squad number45Player namede Winter

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