The Blues have made a great start to their Premier League campaign, sitting comfortably at the top of the table. But they’ve struggled a bit in the UEFA Champions League. On the contrary, Juventus have been limping in Serie A, but boast a 100% record in the Champions League, sitting atop Group H, ahead of Chelsea.
Of the two teams, though, it is Chelsea who are under more pressure to turn things around. The Blues trail Juventus by three points as they prepare to host Malmo on Tuesday evening.
Having beaten the Swedish side 4-0 in the reverse fixture, Thomas Tuchel’s side will start as the favourites at Stamford Bridge this time, too.
Chelsea cannot afford to drop points
Upsets are usually not uncommon in the Champions League, so Chelsea will have to wary about not dropping more points as they seek to catch up with Juventus.
With the Bianconeri playing at home against Zenit St. Petersburg, there is a big chance that they could grab all three points. Should that happen, Max Allegri’s side will open a six-point lead at the top, so Chelsea will need to win to stay in touch with Juventus.
The Blues are currently missing the services of Romelu Lukaku. But they’ve been playing quite well without the Belgian striker, and still scoring goals for fun. Regardless of the team that Tuchel picks, Chelsea should be able to get the better of Malmo. But anything less than a win would be hugely disappointing for the team.
Top spot still up for grabs in Group H
Juventus currently sit atop Group H, but the Bianconeri are yet to visit Stamford Bridge. That means the race for the top spot in the group is still wide open. All Chelsea need to do now is to keep winning to stand a chance of overtaking the Serie A giants. The Blues certainly have the quality to achieve that.
“We are in a good place. We know what it takes to have these kinds of results, the effort we put into it,” Tuchel said ahead of the game, as quoted by France 24.
“I like a lot how my team approaches these matches because we put in a lot of effort and put in a lot of intensity and give not too much on the general view about it that we are the favourites, but we (should) prove our point on the pitch, and that is absolutely necessary tomorrow.”
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The defending champions have a lot to prove in this season’s Champions League. Topping their group should be their short-term target. They can take a major step towards realising it by beating Malmo.