Juventus put in a solid defensive performance reminiscent of Massimiliano Allegri’s previous tenure at the club as they foiled Champions League defending champions Chelsea. In a rearguard showing that would have even warmed Fefu’s heart, the Bianconeri dared Thomas Tuchel and his side to take their best shot, and stood up to it despite missing the attacking thrust of Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata.
The game was always going to be a tactical masterclass with Allegri and Tuchel pitting their wits and squads against each other, but the knives were already out for the Juve boss from the fans even before kick off when the lineups were released and it was looking like Federico Bernardeschi would be playing in a false-9 role.
Speaking after the game, Allegri explained the mentality of his side which has been under attack from all fronts since the beginning of the season.
“Usually, when sailors are in stormy seas, they can always find the way out. That’s what we did tonight with a great game against the Champions of Europe.
“We can play better than this in purely technical terms, but we frankly didn’t allow many real clear-cut chances and we wasted a couple of dangerous counter-attacks too.
“After two games, six points and zero goals conceded, that’s a good step towards qualification for the Round of 16.
“I thought we could have an advantage by playing three upfront, then I moved Chiesa to centre-forward with Bernardeschi behind and it went better.”
The strong defensive showing started with a better performance from the midfield pairing of Manuel Locatelli and Rodrigo Bentancur who looked a lot more at ease together.
“Bentancur struggles by himself, today Locatelli did better in blocking off Romelu Lukaku. Adrien Rabiot did not start well, but he improved as the game went on.”
Chelsea dominated the ball as expected, but the 2:1 possession ration did have the Allianz Stadium gnawing at their fingernails at times.
“Juventus must know how to win games like this, when you have to suffer and fight for the result. That’s what the lads did this evening.
“With all due respect to the Champions of Europe, Wojciech Szczesny didn’t have a real save to make.”
Matchwinner Federico Chiesa showed off his goalscoring credentials for Italy over the summer, and English fans were once again left ruing a loss at Italian hands in Turin this time. Allegri though warned that there was more to come from him.
“He is absolutely not at 100 per cent and this was the first real time he has played as a centre-forward. I told Federico my evaluation, which is that he can play as a centre-forward or a support striker.”