The academy-graduating trio of Trevor Chalobah, Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi were all on track before Timo Werner’s stoppage time crowned a 4-0 victory for the defending champions, who have sometimes worked in Europe this season, but displayed here the kind of form that has taken them clearly to the top of the Premier League table.
Romelu Lukaku returned to the squad on match day for the first time since limping against Malmö last month, but without him or Werner yet fit to start, Christian Pulisic has been tasked with leading the line in the absence of Kai Havertz, injured.
As is often the case in recent weeks, however, the Blues’ main offensive threat has come from their full-backs, with Ben Chilwell cutting when he was well placed in early exchanges, while James taking advantage of the freedom of the right flank against the narrow Italians and almost caught up with Wojciech. Szczesny comes out at his near post with a disguised free kick.
From the resulting corner kick, the deserved breakthrough came, Chalobah hitting home a loose ball from Hakim Ziyech’s corner, Juventus’ calls for handball against Antonio Rudiger falling on deaf ears. The ball had hit the German’s hand well, but only after nicking a visiting defender at close range.
The hosts had to thank imperious Thiago Silva for holding onto their lead moments later as the Brazilian produced a superb clearance on the goal line to turn down Alvaro Morata, the culmination of another swaggering masterclass of a display of the veteran defender.
It was just about the only threatening moment for Juve in the first half in which Federico Chiesa, the electrifying striker who lit up London on his visits here with Italy this summer, barely had a hit of foot.
James had almost doubled the lead before the break, hitting and kicking the goal, only to find Szczesny worthy of his effort.
It was a warning that went unheeded, however, as the right-back found Chilwell’s cross aided in his way by Matthijs de Ligt’s attempted clearance and this time gave the goalkeeper no chance. Juve from an identical position, thundering in the far corner. .
It was the first of two goals in three minutes that ended the game as a match and – given both teams’ record – could prove decisive in deciding first place in the group. Once again, the exceptional James was involved, sliding in for Ziyech, whose intricate job, along with that of replacement Ruben Loftus-Cheek, allowed Hudson-Odoi to make three.
Loftus-Cheek’s introduction came before half-time as he replaced N’Golo Kante, and the fit Chilwell also limped before the end to worry Thomas Tuchel despite the result, with Manchester United coming here to the weekend.
Just as the injuries threatened to take away some of the glow of an otherwise perfect night, however, Werner made sure things ended on a bright note, marking his return with a fourth ending after the wonderful James’ cross pass allowed Ziyech to slide into the six-yard box.
The result more than avenges Chelsea’s 1-0 loss to Turin earlier in the group stage, and means they will advance as group winners if they win away from Zenit St. Petersburg in the last day, regardless of the results elsewhere.