Massimiliano Allegri is never one to mince his words.

A straight talker who typically tends to speak the truth, the Juventus manager is often good value for his pre-match press conferences.

As is Thomas Tuchel, whose media appearances have earned great reviews for his – sometimes brutal – honesty.

Chelsea Juventus
(Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Champions League contest

The pair of hard-hitting coaches will pit their wits against one another when Chelsea host the Italian side in the Champions League this evening.

Stamford Bridge shall be the stage in which the two clubs jostle for control over the group.

Juventus currently hold pole position with 12 points, with Chelsea trailing behind on nine.

A win by three goals or more will propel Tuchel’s team to top spot.

This hasn’t been a problem in recent matches for the Premier League leaders.

In the past seven games, the Blues have netted 20 times, including two 3-0 wins, a 4-0 and the 7-0 thrashing of Norwich City.

Chelsea Juventus
(Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

All achieved without Romelu Lukaku leading the line.

Romelu’s imminent return

The Belgian has been out injured since damaging his ankle against Malmo in October.

He is back in training again and could be involved in the Juve fixture this evening.

Yet, it is more than likely Lukaku will either remain on the bench or be used briefly depending on the scoreline.


Allegri certainly anticipated this scenario during his preview of today’s intriguing clash in South West London.

“Without Lukaku, they have different characteristics differently,” said the Italian in his press conference yesterday.

Chelsea Juventus
(Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

“They’ll have fewer reference points and do more counterattacks.

“Lukaku is a reference point. They gain speed without him and defend differently.”

Lukaku isn’t lightning quick

Perhaps the most interesting point of Allegri’s statement is Chelsea’s improved pace without the presence of Lukaku.

For all his qualities, the 28-year-old is not renowned for rushing behind defences at a high velocity.

Holding off defenders and bringing teammates into play is more his forte.

In Lukaku’s absence, the Blues have admittedly looked far nimbler going forward.

The combination of Kai Havertz, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Hakim Ziyech or Mason Mount has provided extra energy and fluidity amongst the front line.

Chelsea Juventus
(Photo by JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images)

Add to that Christian Pulisic’s introductions as a substitute, Tuchel’s men have found another gear in attack.

Can Chelsea prove Allegri right tonight by bursting upfield with a Lukaku-less offensive set-up?

Three-quarters of the Bridge will certainly hope so.

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