Tactics recap: Juventus 2-2 Chelsea

Most journalists and commentators will likely say this evening's 2-2 Champions League draw between Juventus and Chelsea was a fair result. In truth, the west Londoners were probably a bit fortunate to emerge with the home point on the balance play. Chelsea opened a two goal first half lead through a pair of Oscar goals inside two minutes of each other. However, after drawing a goal back late in the first half through Arturo Vidal, the Italian side dominated the second and although they finished the game with fewer shots on goal, they generally looked more threatening going forward. Chelsea looked vulnerable to balls played in behind the back four throughout the evening and ultimately conceded the equalizer when Fabio Quagliarella was able to time his run and finish a break away to complete the two goal comeback.

Both teams lined up in their usual formations- Juventus set out in a 3-5-2 while Chelsea opted for a 4-2-3-1. Chelsea, reacting to the creative threat of Andrea Pirlo from the base of the Juventus midfield, made one significant lineup change we've not seen from the Blues thus far. Oscar was brought in to play centrally just behind Torres, making his first Chelsea start, while Eden Hazard was shifted to the left. Oscar is a better tackler than Hazard and more used to being given some defensive responsibility. Roberto Di Matteo clearly told the young Brazilian to remain close to Pirlo to deny Juventus the distribution channel of their most clever passer. Oscar performed the task well. Pirlo never really had a huge impact on the game.

With Juventus's narrow center back three, Chelsea were able to enjoy some success in the first half when Hazard and Ramires were able to get the ball in the channels behind Juve's wing backs Stephan Lichtsteiner and Kwaswo Asamoah. When the wing backs were able to track back Ramires and Hazard, the Chelsea wide players were able to drift inside and create space for unmarked overlapping runs from outside backs Ashley Cole and Branislav Ivanovic. The problems for Chelsea came when they got the ball in these areas and needed to find a penetrating pass. All three of Juventus's center backs were able to stay narrow near their 18 yard box and usually had only Fernando Torres to worry about defending. Asking Torres to get on the end of a cross or through ball in a 1 v. 3 situation was a difficult ask and the Spaniard had a frustrating night. Oscar's goals were from solid individual efforts but weren't attributable to Chelsea's tactics.

With Pirlo largely taken out of the game by Oscar, Juventus were forced to get their attacks started elsewhere. They enjoyed success from two main channels. With two forwards, Juve were able to occupy both Chelsea center backs. Mirko Vucinic would check back deeper to the ball, forcing one Chelsea center back to follow him and allowing Sebastian Giovinco to move laterally into the space created Vucinic. Giovinco had a poor game and was ultimately subbed for Quaglierella. Quaglierella continued making these lateral runs into space and ultimately got in behind Chelsea's defense and converted a 1 v. 1 with Cech. Juve's other main attacking threat came from their more advanced center midfielders Vidal and Claudio Marchisio. The two were able to make darting runs into towards the 18 that Frank Lampard and John Obi Mikel had a nightmare of a time dealing with. The combined well for Juventus's opening goal.

Chelsea were also particularly poor at keeping possession in the second half. They wanted to sit deep and keep possession to kill the clock off but through a combination of Juventus's higher pressing and their own sloppiness they struggled to ever dictate the tempo. Mikel's giveaway that led to Juve's second goal is noteworthy but he was hardly the only one guilty of squandering possession.

The Italians will be more pleased with the away point but they were the more impressive side throughout the bulk of the match.