LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: Eden Hazard of Chelsea in action during a Chelsea Training Session & Press Conference ahead of the Uefa Champions League Group E match between Chelsea and Juventus at Stamford Bridge on September 18, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
For the first time ever, Chelsea will kick off their UEFA Champions League campaign as they attempt to defend their European title. That's right, Chelsea are the defending champions of the world's biggest club competition. Let that sink in for a moment...
They'll begin their defense with one of the toughest fixtures they could have drawn, as Serie A champions Juventus come to town. The lineups have dropped, and they'll look like this:
Juventus: Buffon, Chiellini, Bonucci, Barzagli; Lichtsteiner, Marchisio, Pirlo, Vidal, Asamoah; Vucinic, Giovinco.
Subs: Storari, Lúcio, Giaccherini, Quagliarella, Matri, Isla, Marrone
This is a tough fixture early in the group stage, so frankly any points at all would be a solid result. The other two teams in the group will be playing at the same time, as Shakhtar will host FC Nordsjaelland. With four of their remaining five fixtures in the group stage against Juventus and Chelsea, three points at home for Shakhtar against the group's weakest opponent will be absolutely critical. Most of us should be keeping an eye on the score of that one while we watch Chelsea begin their title defense. As always, keep it clean, no links to illegal streams, and have fun. Oh yeah, and GO OSCAR!