IVANOVIC: THE RIGHT APPROACH

Three points against Juventus this evening will see us qualified for the Champions League knockout rounds.

That is the simple fact Branislav Ivanovic feels we must keep in mind at the rebuilt Juventus Stadium, and while a draw would leave us favourites to progress, the Serbian defender believes we must approach the game with nothing less than the maximum return in our thoughts.

Having beaten Shakhtar a fortnight ago we have already come through one proverbial cup final, and it is now time for another potentially decisive fixture.

‘Tuesday is a crucial game for our season. We have already had a couple of games like this this year, but this one is like a final for us,’ said the 28-year-old Ivanovic. ‘It can decide a lot, but if we do what we know it is going to be fine.’

These are the calm words of a European champion, albeit one who was forced to sit out last season’s final after a yellow card against Barcelona denied him a place in Munich. It is the team spirit and strength of character that pulled us through in the last campaign Ivanovic believes can serve us well in northern Italy as we seek a group-defining win.

It would also prove a vital confidence boost following four domestic league games without a win.

‘We know we cannot lose, of course,’ Ivanovic nods. ‘But the mentality of the team is not like this. We have to follow our philosophy of attacking and trying to win the game, because we are Chelsea and we have a way of playing.

‘We want to win every game and qualify as soon as possible, and we have to be true to our philosophy.’

Ivanovic was an unused sub at West Brom at the weekend, but will expect to regain his place for Juve, either at centre-back or at right-back, though he has been impressed with Cesar Azpilicueta, who created our goal at The Hawthorns three days ago.

‘Cesar is great. He takes up good positions and it’s important we have players like this who can play games, because we have a lot in the season,’ Ivanovic said. ‘I hope he will use every chance he has to play.’

Whoever is alongside him, Ivanovic will be eager to make sure things are kept tight in defence. Anything else and it could be a long night.

PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: JUVENTUS V CHELSEA – PART TWO

20.11.2012

IVANOVIC: THE RIGHT APPROACH

Winning, rather than avoiding defeat, must be the aim against Juventus this evening, says Branislav Ivanovic…

20.11.2012

PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: JUVENTUS V CHELSEA – PART TWO

Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton continue their in-depth discussion on tonight’s fixture…

20.11.2012

ELLIOTT: BLUES CAN TRIUMPH IN TURIN

As a former player who broadened his football horizons by testing himself in Serie A, Paul Elliott is in a better position than many to offer an insight into tonight’s game against Juventus….

20.11.2012

PAT NEVIN: PAGE OF REASON

As he wishes the players well for tonight’s game, former Blue Pat Nevin considers whether this month is just like any other month…

20.11.2012

PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: JUVENTUS V CHELSEA – PART ONE

The champions of Italy host the champions of Europe as Group E continues to heat up…

19.11.2012

DI MATTEO: HIGHLY MOTIVATED

Aside from the Champions League final itself, tomorrow night’s match against Juventus is arguably the most important of Roberto Di Matteo’s tenure thus far…

19.11.2012

CAHILL: BACKING THE BACKS

Speaking on the eve of a Champions League game in Italy, Gary Cahill has discussed the recent defensive record and the pain of losing games…

19.11.2012

CHELSEA TV HEADLINES: TURIN TODAY

The latest Blues News bulletin, which can be viewed here, comes from Turin and looks at the state of play in our Champions League group…

19.11.2012

MONDAY WRAP

Here, we pick out the highlights from the latest news surrounding some of our youngsters on loan, as well as casting an eye over the fortunes of former favourites and Champions League opponents…

19.11.2012

DAVID LUIZ: HARD WORK IS THE WAY

David Luiz believes Tuesday’s crucial Champions League clash with Juventus has now taken on extra significance following Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at West Bromwich Albion…

19.11.2012

THE DATA DAY: WEST BROMWICH ALBION V CHELSEA

Our first away league defeat of the season looks all the more surprising when we look at Chelsea’s dominance, which was comparable to early season games where we scored four…

19.11.2012

CHELSEA TV HEADLINES: THE ITALIAN JOB

It is off to Turin for Roberto Di Matteo and his men, as they prepare for a vital Champions League tie against Juventus.

19.11.2012

CHELSEA TV EXCLUSIVE: BACK TO BASICS

Roberto Di Matteo spoke at to Chelsea TV after the weekend game at West Brom and confirmed he is considering altering the balance of the side…

19.11.2012

RADIO CLIVE’S FIVE: WEST BROM V CHELSEA

Throughout the season former player Clive Walker provides radio and TV commentary on Chelsea’s games…

19.11.2012

SEASON TICKET HOLDERS: WIN THE CHANCE TO VISIT COBHAM

If you are a Chelsea season ticket holder you could win the chance to watch Chelsea train this season…

19.11.2012

LAST CHANCE TO BID FOR POPPY SHIRTS

Fans have until this afternoon to bid through eBay for our exclusive poppy-embroidered match-worn shirts from the game against Liverpool.

18.11.2012

UNDER-21 REPORT: LIVERPOOL 3 CHELSEA 3

Super-sub Jeremie Boga scored twice to help Chelsea recover from 3-0 down in the second half, while Lewis Baker converted a penalty to complete the comeback.

18.11.2012

SHOW YOUR SKILLS AND WIN

How would you like to win a signed Chelsea shirt and a copy of EA’s brand new game Need For Speed: Most Wanted? Well here’s how….

17.11.2012

FINAL WHISTLE VERDICT: BACK PROBLEMS

It was a reflective Roberto Di Matteo after the team went four league games without a win on Saturday afternoon, and he will consider changes in the coming days…

17.11.2012

MATCH REPORT: WEST BROMWICH ALBION 2 CHELSEA 1

The Blues suffered a first away defeat in the league as the autumn dip continues…

17.11.2012

UNDER-18S REPORT: LIVERPOOL 1 CHELSEA 2

Alex Kiwomya was the hero as our Under-18s maintained their unbeaten start to the season with an impressive 2-1 win away at Liverpool…

17.11.2012

TEAM NEWS: WEST BROMWICH ALBION V CHELSEA

Roberto Di Matteo has taken the midweek internationals into account with plenty of rotation in today’s team selection…

ELLIOTT: BLUES CAN TRIUMPH IN TURIN

As a former player who broadened his football horizons by testing himself in Serie A, Paul Elliott is in a better position than many to offer an insight into tonight’s Champions League game against Juventus.

The Blues require at least a draw in Turin to ensure our hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages of the competition remain in our own hands, and Elliott, who enjoyed a spell at Pisa in the late 1980s, believes Roberto Di Matteo’s side possess more than enough quality to secure not just a point, but all three.

‘Juventus are a fantastic team,’ he tells the official Chelsea website. ‘They went almost 50 games unbeaten in their league, and they have re-emerged as a force and relocated to a new stadium.

‘They’re short on star quality, but are a very solid and dependable team, very effective and efficient.

‘[Andrea] Pirlo is their best player,’ he states. ‘He’s a classic quarterback and has wonderful feet, superb distribution and a great sense of movement.

‘Like all great players, every time he gets the ball he seems to be in space.’

‘Chelsea can win the game, and certainly get the right outcome. There is a momentum still with Chelsea and it was important to get a big result in the last Champions League game.’

Elliott moved to Stamford Bridge from Celtic in 1991, before a promising career was curtailed prematurely following a tackle by Liverpool’s Dean Saunders at the beginning of the 1992/93 campaign.

Before his spell in Scotland he was fortunate enough to play in Serie A at a time when it was at its most glamorous. A number of high-profile incidents, particularly in recent years, have seen its stock fall behind that of the Premier League and La Liga, but he believes the tide is turning.

‘I love Italian football,’ he says. ‘I was very lucky to spend three years there, when I think it was easily the best league in the world.

‘The experience I had there was fabulous, and I’ve always stayed in touch with it. I’ve seen upsides and downsides and I think it is on the way back up again.’

PAT NEVIN: PAGE OF REASON

As he wishes the players well for tonight’s game, former Blue Pat Nevin considers whether this month is just like any other month…

There is no point in dressing it up, two points out of the last 12 in the Premier league is a pretty disappointing return especially after such a strong and stylish start to the season. Everyone does go on about the November nightmare for Chelsea happening again, but I suspect that is mostly just a coincidence.

That will not stop those at the club charged with checking every detail, if there actually is a reason for this annual malaise. Here are a few possible ideas – it is when the suspensions and injuries start kicking in which tend to affect Chelsea more than most. Well Frank Lampard has missed a few games of late; JT is also missing through injury having missed four on the bounce with his ban. Ashley Cole also has had an unusual little mid-season lay off, so could there be something in this?

Certainly they are important players, indeed key figures for the team and to be missing them all at once is pretty unlucky. It is not only their ability but the leadership qualities on the field that will also be sorely missed. There have been injuries to players in previous Novembers, but are they really worse for Chelsea than for other teams? I am not convinced, but then my mind wanders to Manchester United with their centre-back problems when Vidic isn’t playing and I think, yes, one or two big personalities do make a big difference when they are in important areas.

A few people have also suggested that this is a difficult time of the year for those who regularly play in international games as well as Champions League games. Just about every Chelsea player is an established international and will be demanded by their countries to jet off around the planet when the club would rather they were rested, and indeed the club might know that they need rest because they are on the ‘edge’ of becoming injured.

If you are an older player, recovery is hard because the body just doesn’t accept all the physical exertions, the travel and the sleep deprivation as well as it used to, unless you hold back a bit in the games. So maybe it is just as well the captain isn’t turning out for England any more as he doesn’t do things by half measures. On the other hand the likes of young Oscar has not learned how to adapt his body to this new and punishing regime. Those Brazil matches aren’t played next door you know and jet lag is an incredible energy drainer. That said, once more all the other clubs have similar dilemmas.

Oscar

Then there was the effect of the African Cup of Nations. Lest we forget its effects often lingered with Didier Drogba for many months in his time at the club. Whether it could be still having an effect the November after they are held is probably pushing it a bit, but certainly the players going to Africa in the early season have significant tiredness issues due to the travel, which doesn’t always work on time or fit precisely to the schedule you would choose for yourself.

It has also been suggested that those who play in a summer international tournament and get to the latter stages often dip around about this time of the year. Certainly Fernando has looked ‘leg weary’ now and again, but then again anyone would who was playing on their own up front in every single game, twice and sometimes three times a week.

Actually I would like to hear any theories you have on the subject, it might just sound like looking for excuses and we might be crawling in the dark looking for a light that isn’t there, but you never know, there might be a reason or certainly some contributing factors the club hasn’t considered.

All of which leads to the fact that we know this little run cannot continue if we are going to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League. Juventus away always looked like the toughest game of the group stage and now we turn up in Turin needing to get something out of it. There are a few permutations left but it is getting close to the time that Robbie pulls out one of those special results he became renowned for last season.

Everyone remembers the final and even the game in Barcelona before it, but there have been others of course. The Napoli game at the Bridge was the one that seemed to kick off the dream and once again it is a top Italian side that stands in the way of our progression. Juventus are without doubt a fine side, who were good value for their point at Stamford Bridge back in September, but Chelsea were a brand new team then, just learning the ropes of the new system. The question is, have we learned enough yet to go there and get the result?

Juventus haven’t exactly cruised through this group either, the draw with FC Nordsjaelland could yet be their downfall, but in the simplest terms, I guess we will simply have to get a point in this one to go through, period. I just wonder if Robbie will be just a little cagier this time, just as I believe he tried to be in Donetsk. It backfired on that occasion mainly because Frank Lampard had to go off early and the game plan had to be quickly redrawn.

Wherever he goes and whatever he does, it will be subject to extreme scrutiny in the press. Personally I don’t care if it is tactical genius or brazen good fortune, just as long as somehow we can get that point and keep our destiny in our own hands.

Last week’s quiz question was, can you tell me the name of a Chelsea player who has scored for Reading? Well there are a few correct answers though the most current is of course Ryan Bertrand who was on loan there. Others from the past who moved to Reading having previously played for the Blues were Paul Canoville and Robert Fleck. Steve Sidwell moved to Chelsea from Reading and how about Kerry Dixon who scored bucket loads there before becoming a Chelsea scoring sensation. Ron Tindall played and scored for both clubs in the 1950s and 60s, then for true archivists Stan Wicks did the same in the 1940s and 50s.

We have to include Michael Essien’s own goal back in December 2006 for Reading as well if we are going to be totally fair. There were plenty of correct answers but the winner chosen at random by the girl physically pushing me off my computer so that she can go on Facebook is, Miika Kunnas from Helsinki, Finland.

This week to have a chance of being the randomly chosen winner of a DVD of last season’s Champions League campaign, signed by Ashley Cole, could you tell me the name of any Chelsea player from any era who has won the league championship in more than one country? Answers as ever to me at pat.nevin@chelseafc.com

Good luck to you and to the lads tonight.

PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: JUVENTUS V CHELSEA – PART ONE

20.11.2012

PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: JUVENTUS V CHELSEA – PART ONE

The champions of Italy host the champions of Europe as Group E continues to heat up…

19.11.2012

DI MATTEO: HIGHLY MOTIVATED

Aside from the Champions League final itself, tomorrow night’s match against Juventus is arguably the most important of Roberto Di Matteo’s tenure thus far…

19.11.2012

CAHILL: BACKING THE BACKS

Speaking on the eve of a Champions League game in Italy, Gary Cahill has discussed the recent defensive record and the pain of losing games…

19.11.2012

CHELSEA TV HEADLINES: TURIN TODAY

The latest Blues News bulletin, which can be viewed here, comes from Turin and looks at the state of play in our Champions League group…

19.11.2012

MONDAY WRAP

Here, we pick out the highlights from the latest news surrounding some of our youngsters on loan, as well as casting an eye over the fortunes of former favourites and Champions League opponents…

19.11.2012

DAVID LUIZ: HARD WORK IS THE WAY

David Luiz believes Tuesday’s crucial Champions League clash with Juventus has now taken on extra significance following Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at West Bromwich Albion…

19.11.2012

THE DATA DAY: WEST BROMWICH ALBION V CHELSEA

Our first away league defeat of the season looks all the more surprising when we look at Chelsea’s dominance, which was comparable to early season games where we scored four…

19.11.2012

CHELSEA TV HEADLINES: THE ITALIAN JOB

It is off to Turin for Roberto Di Matteo and his men, as they prepare for a vital Champions League tie against Juventus.

19.11.2012

CHELSEA TV EXCLUSIVE: BACK TO BASICS

Roberto Di Matteo spoke at to Chelsea TV after the weekend game at West Brom and confirmed he is considering altering the balance of the side…

19.11.2012

RADIO CLIVE’S FIVE: WEST BROM V CHELSEA

Throughout the season former player Clive Walker provides radio and TV commentary on Chelsea’s games…

19.11.2012

SEASON TICKET HOLDERS: WIN THE CHANCE TO VISIT COBHAM

If you are a Chelsea season ticket holder you could win the chance to watch Chelsea train this season…

19.11.2012

LAST CHANCE TO BID FOR POPPY SHIRTS

Fans have until this afternoon to bid through eBay for our exclusive poppy-embroidered match-worn shirts from the game against Liverpool.

18.11.2012

UNDER-21 REPORT: LIVERPOOL 3 CHELSEA 3

Super-sub Jeremie Boga scored twice to help Chelsea recover from 3-0 down in the second half, while Lewis Baker converted a penalty to complete the comeback.

18.11.2012

SHOW YOUR SKILLS AND WIN

How would you like to win a signed Chelsea shirt and a copy of EA’s brand new game Need For Speed: Most Wanted? Well here’s how….

17.11.2012

FINAL WHISTLE VERDICT: BACK PROBLEMS

It was a reflective Roberto Di Matteo after the team went four league games without a win on Saturday afternoon, and he will consider changes in the coming days…

17.11.2012

MATCH REPORT: WEST BROMWICH ALBION 2 CHELSEA 1

The Blues suffered a first away defeat in the league as the autumn dip continues…

17.11.2012

UNDER-18S REPORT: LIVERPOOL 1 CHELSEA 2

Alex Kiwomya was the hero as our Under-18s maintained their unbeaten start to the season with an impressive 2-1 win away at Liverpool…

17.11.2012

TEAM NEWS: WEST BROMWICH ALBION V CHELSEA

Roberto Di Matteo has taken the midweek internationals into account with plenty of rotation in today’s team selection…

17.11.2012

IVANOVIC: LEARN FROM EXPERIENCE

Branislav Ivanovic recognises the importance of returning to winning ways against West Bromwich Albion this afternoon…

17.11.2012

CHELSEA TV EXCLUSIVE: DI MATTEO SETS AIMS

Roberto Di Matteo sat down to discuss with Chelsea TV today’s match at The Hawthorns…

17.11.2012

DI MATTEO: TAKING OPPORTUNITIES

Roberto Di Matteo believes his experience in charge at the Hawthorns has only served to enhance his abilities as a manager…

17.11.2012

PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: WEST BROMWICH ALBION V CHELSEA – PART TWO

With the Blues in action for a traditional three o’clock kick-off, club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton are joined by former player Clive Walker to complete their close look at this afternoon’s