Fernando Torres has been dropped for Chelsea’s Champions League showdown against Juventus tonight, putting his future at Stamford Bridge in doubt.
The Spaniard will start the crucial tie against Juventus, which will go some way towards deciding their fate in the Champions League, from the bench.
Torres has struggled in front of goal yet again recently, and despite a bright start to the new Premier League campaign has scored just once in the league since September.
The 27-year-old’s record at Chelsea now stands at 18 goals in 85 appearances since his big-money move in January 2011.
The former Liverpool forward was a peripheral figure in Chelsea’s defeat against West Brom over the weekend, and he has now seemingly paid the price for one under-par performance too many.
Speculation last night suggested Daniel Sturridge may be preferred to Torres in attack, but according to the Daily Mail, summer signing Eden Hazard will be given the chance to lead the line in the Group E clash at the Juventus Stadium.
Recent reports suggest Roman Abramovich has grown tired of waiting for his £50 million signing to fire, and is now willing to let him leave in order to facilitate a move for Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao.
Defeat for the Stamford Bridge-based club could put them at risk of becoming the first defending champions to fail to make it to the knockout stages, while victory will all but assure them of a place in the next round with one game to go against group minnows FC Nordsjælland.
Chelsea currently sit in second place in Group E on seven points, level with group leaders Shakhtar Donetsk and one point ahead of their opponents tonight.
Ashley Cole looks set to return for the game in Italy tonight, while Cesar Azpilicueta will be asked to play in an unfamiliar role in front of right back Branislav Ivanovic.