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Malmo v Chelsea betting tips: Can under-fire Sarri grab much-needed win?

Richard Marsh | 14 February 2019

Preview and odds for Europa League clash

After that dismal 6-0 mauling by Manchester City on Sunday, Chelsea will look to get their season back on track in tonight’s Europa League clash versus Malmo.

The press have been buzzing with reports that Maurizio Sarri’s days as Blues boss are numbered, but for now the Italian remains in charge of the Stamford Bridge outfit.

And after cruising through their Europa League group, Chelsea are now off to Sweden to visit Uwe Rosler’s side for the first leg of their round of 32 tie.

Can the Blues get back to winning ways and give their manager some respite? It’s all live on BT Sport 2 tonight, with an 8.00pm kick-off…

Head-to-head

Chelsea have never played Malmo before, and they haven’t faced any Swedish side in 20 years.

The Blues have only ever faced Swedish opposition four times before. They met Atvidabergs FF in the 1971-1972 Cup Winners’ Cup, and then faced Helsingborgs in the same competition in the 1998-1999 season.

Those results yielded three draws and one victory over Helsinborgs at the Bridge.

Form-wise Sarri’s side have won three and lost three of their last six. But it’s worth noting that Chelsea have lost each of their last four away games – conceding 13 goals in the process without netting a single strike of their own.

Malmo are currently in pre-season, with their upcoming Allsvenskan campaign kicking in six weeks’ time.

Likely XIs

Sarri is taking a strong squad to Sweden. Only Marcos Alonso (rested) and Ruben Loftus-Cheek (back injury) are staying behind.

With games against Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur to come before the month is out, Sarri is likely to want to wrap this tie up as quickly as possible.

Gonzalo Higuain has been registered to play for the Blues in the knockout stages, and is set to start up front.

Eden Hazard and Willian are likely to complete the front three, as worked to great effect in the 5-0 win over Huddersfield. Emerson is set to deputise for Alonso at left-back.

With their new season still some weeks away, it’s hard to gauge how Malmo might line up. But in the group stages Rosler largely went for a 4-4-2, with a pair of holding midfielders in Fouad Bachirou and Oscar Lewicki.

Former Ajax and West Bromwich Albion striker – and club captain – Markus Rosenberg should lead the line up top, alongside former Leeds United and Blackburn Rovers man Markus Antonsson.

 

Key battles

Chelsea will need to be careful. This is Malmo’s first competitive game of the season, they’ll be fresh and out to make an impact.

But there’s little doubt the Blues have the greater quality. If they’re allowed the space, they should be able to cut through their Swedish hosts.

If Rosler’s men sit back and hold a deep line that could restrict Chelsea’s options. Equally, they could opt to push up and squeeze the midfield. Although that leaves them at risk to the pace of Hazard and Willian in behind.

Match odds

Despite Sunday’s bashing at the Etihad, Chelsea go into this one as confident 2/5 favourites.

But Malmo will be up for an upset at 7/1, with a draw chalked up at 10/3.

Now we’re in the knockout stages, it’s away goals season, and that will be Chelsea’s first aim tonight. They’re 1/9 to grab one away goal, with 4/7 about two or more.

And it’s Hazard and Higuain who share favouritism in the goal-getting markets. The duo are each 16/5 to score first, and 21/10 anytime.

Olivier Giroud is likely to get a run out at some point too. The Frenchman is Chelsea’s top scorer in the competition with four goals, and is 6/5 anytime.

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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing