Ruthless holders breeze into round of 16

Trevoh Chalobah marked his first Champions League start with a goal as Chelsea stormed into the round of 16 with an emphatic 4-0 win over Juventus.

The holders only needed to a point to qualify and they outclassed Juve at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday to replace them at the top of Group H with one game to play.

Chalobah controversially opened the scoring after Antonio Rudiger appeared to have handled in the penalty area and the Premier League leaders were a class apart in the second half, with goals from the outstanding Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi putting them in command.

Thomas Tuchel’s side were in cruise control as they made it 10 games without defeat and Timo Werner rounded off a ruthless win when he added a fourth with the last kick of the game, although they lost Ben Chilwell to a knee injury after N’Golo Kante was also forced off.

Chelsea started like a side brimming with confidence and the dangerous James forced a save from Wojciech Szczesny with a free-kick from a tight angle.

Chalobah opened the scoring in contentious fashion 25 minutes in, firing in on the half-volley with his right foot from eight yards out after it seemed the ball had struck Rudiger’s arm when Hakim Ziyech whipped in a corner.

Thiago Silva showed great awareness to race back and keep the Blues in front with a desperate last-ditch clearance to deny former Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata, who had dinked the ball over the advancing Edouard Mendy.

Kante was withdrawn eight minutes before the break, Ruben Loftus-Cheek replacing him, but they continued to dominate following the interval and took complete control with two goals in the space of three minutes.

James controlled the ball on his chest before beating Szczesny with a rasping right-foot drive after Leonardo Bonucci headed Chilwell’s cross into his path.

Hudson-Odoi then applied the finish with his left foot from close range, with Loftus-Cheek having shown great footwork before setting the winger up.

Szczesny thwarted Ziyech with a fine reflex save, but James was involved again as fit-again substitute Werner put the icing on the cake when he finished from close range as Juve lost their perfect Champions League record this season.

What does it mean? Rampant Blues make huge statement

Chelsea maintained their ominous form as they toyed with Juve in a one-sided encounter and they have not been beaten since a loss to the Serie A side in September.

They will travel to Zenit for their last group game ahead of the Bianconeri due to their head-to-head record and knowing a win will secure top spot, while Juve will be expected to beat Malmo at the Allianz Stadium.

Tuchel will be concerned about an injury sustained by Chilwell, who looked in a lot of pain as he made his way off the pitch after landing awkwardly and will hope Kante is not facing another lay-off ahead of a Premier League match against Manchester United on Sunday.

Classy James the pick of academy graduates

Chelsea have splashed the cash over the years, but their academy graduates are playing a huge part in their success.

England wing-back James was magnificent yet again and is the Blues’ leading scorer this season with five goals, while also having five assists to his name.

Mohamed Salah (16 goals, seven assists) is the only other player for a Premier League club to have at least five goals and lay five or more on.

Miserable return for Cuadrado

Cuadrado failed to make an impact during his time at Chelsea and he suffered a miserable return. Hudson-Odoi gave the Colombia international torrid time before he was replaced late on.

Key Opta Stats: Worst Juve loss in Champions League era

– Juventus suffered their heaviest ever Champions League defeat, and second-worst in the European Cup overall, after a 7-0 loss to Wiener Sport-Club in October 1958.
– Indeed, this was the first time the Old Lady lost by four goals in any competition since February 2004 in a 4-0 Serie A defeat to Roma.
– Chelsea have now progressed from 18 of their 19 group stage participations (including second group phases) in the Champions League.
– This was Tuchel’s 50th match in charge of Chelsea in all competitions, and 32nd win (D11 L7). The Blues have kept 31 clean sheets, more than any other side in Europe’s big-five leagues since his first game in charge.
– Chelsea-Juve was only the third time a team had three different English goalscorers in a UCL match after Man Utd v Brondby (1998, Beckham, Cole, Neville, Scholes) and Man Utd v Roma (2007, Carrick, Smith, Rooney).

What’s next?

Chelsea face another home game against managerless United in the Premier League on Sunday. Juve take on fourth-placed Atalanta at the Allianz Stadium in Serie A on Saturday.


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