Chelsea Women will aim to claim their first victory of the 2021-22 Women’s Champions League group stage at the second attempt when they travel to Juventus for Wednesday’s battle.
Emma Hayes’s side played out a thrilling 3-3 draw with Wolfsburg on the opening matchday, while the Turin giants eased past Servette Chenois 3-0 to storm to the top.
With such an unprecedented winning run still intact, Juventus – now under the tutelage of former Arsenal Women’s coach Joe Montemurro – have staked an early claim for the continental crown with 11 wins on the trot in all competitions since the season kicked off.
A trip to Geneva on the opening matchday of the Champions League saw Juventus run out comfortable 3-0 winners last week, as Arianna Caruso, Lina Hurtig and Valentina Cernoia all netted in a comfortable success before the weekend’s clash domestic clash with Napoli.
Cernoia once again stole the show and needed all of five minutes to do so, setting up Caruso for the game’s opening goal after just 26 seconds before doubling her side’s tally in the fifth minute, with that victory marking a record-breaking 30th in a row for Juventus in the Women’s Serie A.
Seeking to add a first-ever Champions League crown to their four successive domestic triumphs, Juventus head into Wednesday’s game having kept clean sheets in all eight of their last home victories, while Chelsea coach Emma Hayes was left to rue a lack of defensive nous against Wolfsburg.
While Sam Kerr’s opener saw Chelsea get off to the perfect start against Wolfsburg, the reigning Women’s Super League champions soon found themselves 3-1 down due to indiscipline at the back, with Tabea Wassmuth netting twice during the Germans’ prolific spell.
Chelsea would rescue a point through Beth England and Pernille Harder’s equaliser against her old club in the second minute of second-half injury time, but Hayes lamented the “gifts” that her side presented to Wolfsburg before returning to domestic action against Leicester City Women at the weekend.
There were no such defensive concerns this time around as Harder and Fran Kirby – two nominees for the 2021 Women’s Ballon d’Or – struck in the final 10 minutes of that 2-0 win, which saw them rise to second in the WSL rankings behind Montemurro’s former employers Arsenal.
Like Juventus, Chelsea are also still waiting for their first Champions League crown in the women’s game after falling to Barcelona’s superiority in last year’s final, but three of their last six away games in the tournament have ended in defeat.
Juventus Women’s Champions League form:
Juventus form (all competitions):
Chelsea Women Women’s Champions League form:
Chelsea Women form (all competitions):
We say: Juventus 2-1 Chelsea Women
While Chelsea’s celebrated attackers are primed to break Juventus’ remarkable defensive resilience on home soil this week, the hosts will have taken notice of their opponents’ defensive lapses on matchday one.
Montemurro’s crop are in no position to let their winning streak end anytime soon, and while they will be pushed all the way by Chelsea, we still expect the Italian champions to prevail in a tight contest.