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Defenders Chalobah and James propel Chelsea to glorious night of European football with 4-0 thrashing of Juventus

By Paul Lagan at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea 4 v Juventus 0

A brilliant display by Chelsea saw them thrash Italian giants Juventus 4-0 at Stamford Bridge to top Group H of the Champions League with one match remaining.

With no recognised strikers in the starting 11 – Timo Werner, and Romelu Lukaku were on the bench, having recovered from injury, it was left to defenders to steal the show, and Trevoh Chalobah and Reece James did just that, showing that given the chance in the opposition’s penalty area, they are a good as any hitman.

Callum Hudson-Odoi finished off a fine move and substitute Werner had the last laugh and the last goal with the last kick of the game.

But what made this more impressive was that their goals were against a top Italian outfit.

Chelsea started on the front foot, looking for the killer early goal. But while they pressed, they did not open up the renowned defence.

On 15 minutes, a brilliant counter-attack saw the ball zipped into the Juve six-yard box, with Christian Pulisic ready to finish it off. but a last-gasp block by Leonardo Bonucci prevented the USA winger from opening the score.

The goal did come, but from an seemingly unlikely source – defender Trevoh Chalobah on 25 minutes.

A deep corner was knocked back by Toni Rudiger and Chalobah smashed home a fierce half-volley from six-yards out.

It was the third goal of the season for the 22 year old.

The Italians almost equalised three minutes when ex-Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata broke free. He clipped the ball over Mendy. But Thiago Silva was on hand to scoop the ball away from the empty net.

Ex-Arsenal goalkeeper stopper Wojciech Szczesny did well to parry away an angled daisy-cutter from Reece James on 36 minutes.

A minute later N’Golo Kante, who must have suffered an injury, but looked okay as he trundled off the pitch was replaced by Ruben Loftus-Cheek. The France midfielder must now be a doubt for Sunday’s crunch league match with Manchester United at the Bridge.

There were no further changes by either side at half-time.

Silva saw his glancing header well saved by Szczesny on 52 minutes as the Blues sought to double their lead.

Seconds later, they did and it was a beauty.

A cross from the left was nodded clear, or so he thought by Bonucci. But the ball ended up at the far stick and  James chested the ball down before thundering in a venomous right-footer that zipped past Szczesny and smashed the back of the net.

The Blues confirmed victory that put them top of group H on goal-difference to the Italians when Hudson-Odoi finished off a scintillating third move, inspired in the most part by Loftus-Cheek to make it 3-0.

Ben Chilwell was helped off the pitch by medics on 69 minutes with a possible ankle injury – Cesar Azpilicueta replaced him. Thomas Tuchel also opted to bring on striker Timo Werner – Pulisic made way.

Saul and Mason Mount were soon introduced at the expense of Hudson-Odoi and Jorginho. 

Juventus finally had a shot on target with seven minutes left. American Weston McKennie, produced a fine curling left-footed half-volley, that allowed Mendy to get a bit warm, as he tipped the ball over the crossbar for a corner.

Hakim Ziyech forced a save from Szczesny late on.

But by then, the Italians were demoralised and chants of ‘Ole’ by the crowd as the Blues played keep ball only served to demonstrated the difference in class.

Deep into the five minutes of added time, in fact the final kick of the game, saw Werner confirm the hammering with a simple tap-in from close range having being set up by Ziyech.

Chelsea’s next match is at the Bridge on Sunday, in the Premier League against Manchester United. 

Teams: Chelsea, Mendy, Rudiger, Jorginho, Silva, Kante, Pulisic, Chalobah, Hudson-Odoi, Chilwell, Ziyech, James

Subs: Kepa, Bettinelli, Alonso, Christensen, Lukaku, Werner, Loftus-Cheek, Niguez, Barkley, Mount, Azpilicueta, Sarr

Juventus, Szczesny, De Ligt, Morata, Cuadrado, Sandro, McKennie, Bonucci, Chiesa, Rabiot, Locatelli, Bentancur

Subs: Pinsoglio, Perrin, Arthur, Dybala, Kean, Kulusevski, De Winter

Referee: Srdjan Jokanovic, (Serbia)

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