Giovinco set to star at Stamford Bridge (Video)

On Wednesday, Chelsea open their defence of their European title at home to Serie A champions Juventus in what is one of the most eagerly awaited ties of this opening round of the group stages of the Champions League.

Juventus were simply sensational in Serie A last season. Tactically versatile, brimming with confidence and variation as well as the quality of the likes of Andrea Pirlo masterfully controlling matches from midfield, the Old Lady of Italian football eventually took the title without losing a single game.

The Bianconeri have started off this season in similar fashion with three consecutive league victories, despite the controversy surrounding their manager Antonio Conte, who has been suspended from managing his team on match days for the next 10 months, although he continues to lead the team on the training pitch throughout the week.

Juve have strengthened considerably this summer and while fans may have been disappointed to have been linked with the likes of Edinson Cavani and Robin Van Persie, only to bring in Nicklas Bendnter, it is the re-signing of Sebastian Giovinco from Parma that has most pleased the Juventus faithful.

Giovinco first burst onto the scene for Juventus in the 2008-09 season where despite some electrifying performances and superb pieces of pace and skill married with extraordinary technique, consistency seemed to be lacking from his game and he particularly struggled physically against tough Italian defenders due to standing at less than 5 ft 5 inches.

However, after having 50% of his rights sold to Parma in 2011 under Serie A’s peculiar co-ownership scheme, Giovinco shone in his preferred position of just off the strikers, the Trequartista role of the deep-lying attacking that the likes of Roberto Baggio and now departed Juventus legend Alessandro Del Piero are perfect examples of.

For Parma, Giovinco was given a free reign to do as he pleased and led his club an impressive eighth in the final Serie A table last season, with 16 goals and 13 assists in all competitions. Some of his play was simply sensational and they rightly resulted in him travelling to Euro 2012 as part of Italy’s squad before Juventus confirmed they would buy back the 50% of Giovinco they had sold to Parma in preparation for their Serie A title defence and Champions League tilt.

With the shadow of Del Piero now removed from Turin, Giovinco can begin to finally fulfil his potential as the natural successor to Juventus’ all time record goalscorer and has already scored two goals in the two league games he has featured in so far this season. The little man has previous against Juve’s opponents on Wednesday having, caused Chelsea’s defence all sorts of problems back in 2009 when the two teams last met on the European stage.

Indeed, after the way Atletico Madrid’s nifty attackers cut through the Chelsea rearguard at will, one would imagine Giovinco might thrive on the counter-attack at Stamford Bridge against the rather staid likes of John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic.

Adam Mazrani

For more Football Blogs and opinion from football fans around the world