Chelsea will be in Italy on Tuesday for what should be their most important game of the season. Ahead of that clash, we decided to break down the specifics of what every possible outcome today would mean for Chelsea and their prospects of reaching the knockout round.
Matchday 5 will feature a very enticing matchup for many fans, and it will certainly have an effect on exactly what a pair of games in the group mean on Matchday 6. With that in mind, we decided to break down the potential scenario for Chelsea after any of the possible outcomes from Tuesday. First, the potential Chelsea results:
A win over Juventus:
With a win over Juve, Chelsea advance to the knockout round of the tournament regardless of any other outcome. They would have a four point cushion over third place in the group, making it mathematically impossible to fail to advance. Potentially winning the group would still be reliant on Shakhtar dropping points in one of their remaining games, as a tie with Shakhtar will see the Ukrainian side win on head to head away goals.
A draw with Juventus:
A draw with Juve is a very good result for Chelsea. It puts the club in a situation where a win against FC Nordsjaelland secures advancement to the knockout round of the tournament. Winning the group requires help at this point, but it assures that the Shakhtar/Juve game will be a fantastic one for a neutral as it's the only result that would prevent Shakhtar from advancing today with a win over Nordsjaelland.
A loss to Juventus:
This is clearly the worst case scenario, as it is the only thing that can happen to take control of their own fate out of Chelsea's hands. Next, we'll look over at Shakhtar:
If Shakhtar win:
If Shakhtar win, they still control the group. This, combined with a Chelsea loss on Tuesday, is the only possible scenario in which Chelsea do not control their own fate on Matchday 6.
If Shakhtar draw:
Regardless of the outcome in Italy, a Shakhtar draw on Tuesday assures Chelsea advancement with a win at Stamford Bridge against FC Nordsjaelland. I think it's safe to say we're all a bit Danish today.
If Shakhtar lose:
Like a draw, this scenario has Chelsea controlling their own fate. This, combined with Chelsea/Juve draw in Italy, is the only scenario which could see the three-way tiebreaker come into play in the final matchweek.
There is only one possible combination of events which could lead to the three-way tiebreaker being brought into effect, and at this point I'd say it's unlikely at best. Any of the three competing for the knockout round winning in any of their remaining contests eliminates the possibility of a three-way tie atop the group. In the extremely unlikely event that this scenario comes in to play, the higher the combined score in the Juve game, the better Chelsea will look.
Chelsea will lose any head to head tie with Shakhtar, as the Ukrainian side managed two goals in London. If Chelsea win in Italy, the tiebreaker with Juve does not matter, as they'd be four points clear of the Italian side with one fixture to play. If Chelsea lose by any margin, Juventus have the tiebreaker, and a draw with Shakhar in Matchweek 6 assures they finish above the European champions. A draw of 0-0 or 1-1 would give Juve the edge on away goals, a draw of 3-3 or higher gives Chelsea the tiebreaker. That scenario could only come into play with a Chelsea loss to Nordsjaelland combined with a Juventus draw in the Ukraine.
A 2-2 draw would essentially see Juve hold the tiebreaker, although in reality Chelsea would still be ahead on goals scored after the game. The only scenario in which that tiebreaker could come into play would feature a Chelsea loss to Nordsjaelland combined with a Juve draw with Shakhtar, a scenario that would see Juve with a better overall GD and therefore advancing over Chelsea. If we fall into that scenario, we deserve to be in the Europa League anyway.
Obviously, everyone here will be hoping for a win that would see Matchday 6 become a lot less stressful. A draw would be a pretty nice result today as well, and a loss could still be just fine if Shakhtar manage to drop any points. That said, seeing both ourselves and Shakhtar win and watching Juventus make plans for the Europa League would be awfully fun, so I'd be totally ok with that as well.