Eden Hazard

Chelsea vs Malmö FF betting tips: Europa League preview & predictions

Chelsea vs Malmö prediction: Chelsea 3-1 Malmö FF

Chelsea come into Thursday night’s match carrying a 2-1 lead from the first leg. Those two away goals essentially meaning Malmö need to win, while scoring more than one goal, to win the tie.

So, Chelsea’s path to the Round of 16 is likely already safe. Or, at least, it should be.

With this Chelsea at the moment, seeing their manager openly questioning their ability to play as a team rather than a collection of talented individuals, the question mark will be whether they are capable of somehow collapsing on Thursday night also?

They have managed to slide from title challenge to 6th place in the league. Stumble out of the FA Cup with a whimper. They face the same Manchester City, who thrashed them 6-0 earlier this month, in the final of the Carabao Cup on Sunday. The worry is some of these players have given up on the season already. They are already thinking of their own futures without Sarri. Possibly even away from Chelsea.

Given the situation at the moment, with both United and Spurs looking superior to them in the league, winning the UEFA Europa League probably represents their best hope of seeing UEFA Champions League football next season. With that, comes that added allure when recruiting top players that Sarri, or whoever, might need to rebuild this squad. Can they really go all the way though? First, they need to show they can finish off this Malmö side, who they let back into the tie with a late counter attack last week.

Chelsea vs Malmö: Who will win?

Ross Barkley

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 10: Ross Barkley and Gonzalo Higuain of Chelsea look dejected after Manchester City’s third goal during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Chelsea FC at Etihad Stadium on February 10, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Chelsea, with home advantage and having the far superior squad, are 2/9 favourites with the bookies.

While a draw or even a 0-1 defeat would see Chelsea through, likely anything other than a comprehensive win would just heap more pressure on Sarri. Therefore, both sides are likely to go for the win here making a draw unlikely. The bookies odds of 5/1 reflect this.

Malmö lost their only competitive match on English soil 1-0 to Nottingham Forest in 1995. Bryan Roy scoring the only goal in a very tight game. They come into this match knowing they need to score at least two goals to avoid elimination. Thus, they are big outsiders with the bookies at 12/1.

Chelsea vs Malmö: Who will score?

Giroud Chelsea

LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 16: Pedro of Chelsea celebrates with team mate Olivier Giroud after scoring his team’s second goal of the game during The Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round match between Chelsea and Hull City at Stamford Bridge on February 16, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Olivier Giroud scored what proved to be the winning goal in the first leg with a left-footed tap-in. It was his first goal in ten games for Chelsea in all competitions. He is also Chelsea’s top scorer in the competition with five goals in six appearances. He is 4/1 to score first on Thursday night, and 21/20 to score at any time.

Callum Hudson-Odoi scored on his last Chelsea start against Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup. He looks likely to get another chance here, but can he thank the manager with another goal? He is 5/1 to score first, and 13/10 to score at any time in the match.

Marcus Antonsson had a poor night in Sweden fduring the first leg and was withdrawn with 20 minutes remaining. However, he remains Malmö’s top scorer in the competition with three goals in seven appearances. He is 14/1 to score first and 4/1 to score at any time.

Chelsea vs Malmö: Match preview

Jorginho

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 05: Jorginho of Chelsea in action during the FA Community Shield match between Manchester City and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on August 5, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

From the outside looking in, Chelsea look like a club in trouble at the moment. Their manager, Mauricio Sarri, looks like a dead man walking, with betting sites already offering odds for the next man in charge.

They have lost three of their last four league matches. They have failed to score in six of their twelve matches in 2019. They have also conceded thirteen goals in their last five games.

Kepa Arrizabalaga, the world’s most expensive goalkeeper, has saved just twelve of twenty-five shots in that time. A saves per goal ratio of 0.9. This while the other big money goalkeeper signing in the summer, Alisson, is making 3.5 saves per goal.

They have also failed to solve the problem that has been hampering them all season. How to stop being exposed on the counter?

Chelsea vs Malmö: The Chelsea Pineapple?

N'golo Kante

LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 02: N’golo Kante of Chelsea is challenged by Aaron Mooy of Huddersfield Town during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Huddersfield Town at Stamford Bridge on February 2, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Chelsea have been something of a coconut so far this season. Tough on the outside; soft in the middle.

We saw it once more with Malmö’s equaliser last Thursday as they cut straight through the middle of the Chelsea team. Jorginho, their ‘defensive midfielder’ was nowhere to be seen. Christensen got bullied out of it by Rosenberg. Kovacic couldn’t match the run of Anders Christiansen to get goal side and prevent him scoring a simple counter attack goal.

A lot of this can be attributed to the positions on the pitch certain players take up when Chelsea lose possession of the ball. César Azpilicueta, arguably Chelsea’s best defender, is no longer at centre back having been moved to right back by Sarri. Likewise, N’Golo Kanté no longer hunts down the ball in the middle when attacks break down like a man possessed. His new role sees him more on the right side of the pitch and often ahead of the ball as a runner.

Which means Chelsea are now weaker through the middle against counter attacks both in terms of numbers and defensive quality than they were under Antonio Conte.

When you think of successful sides built around a deep controller such as Pirlo, Alonso, Kroos, or Scholes you often found a minder paired with them. Someone who would stay central, provide the legs and aggression to track runners or quickly snuff out counters that they lacked. A Gattuso, Mascherano, Casemiro or Roy Keane.

The confusion for many Chelsea fans this season so far is why N’Golo Kanté, a player seemingly perfect for the role, is not used as such?

Chelsea team news vs Malmö

Callum Hudson-Odoi

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 08: Callum Hudson-Odoi of Chelsea is put under pressure by Christian Eriksen of Tottenham Hotspur during the Carabao Cup Semi-Final First Leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on January 8, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Jamal Blackman and Marco van Ginkel remain on the long-term injury list for Chelsea.

Gary Cahill, Ruben Loftus-Cheek (both with lower back injuries) and Daniel Drinkwater (achilles injury) are nearing a return and may be available for selection at the weekend. However, this game is expected to come to soon for them to be involved.

Having only played on Monday night, Maurizio Sarri is expected to rotate his squad here to keep his players fresh. Only Kepa, Jorginho and Kovacic were expected to keep their place in the side that was eliminated from the FA Cup.

In his pre-match press conference, Sarri hinted at injury problems to Kepa (hamstring), Pedro (stomach ache) and Zappacosta (fever).

Callum Hudson-Odoi has barely featured in recent months, bar the FA Cup. He was an unused substitute on Monday night. He is expected get the nod on Thursday for only his 7th start of the season; his 3rd in this competition. He will likely take the place of Pedro from the first leg.

Malmö team news vs Chelsea

Malmö have no injury or suspension concerns coming into the match.

Søren Rieks, Andreas Vindheim, Fouad Bachirou and Rasmus Bengtsson are all walking the yellow-card tightrope. They would miss the first leg in the Round of 16, should they qualify, if booked on Thursday night.

Arnór Ingvi Traustason was particularly disappointing for Malmö in the first leg. Oscar Lewicki had almost the same number of touches of the ball in the 20 minutes he was on the pitch as Traustason did in the first 70. It is likely Uwe Rösler will reward him with a start in the second leg as his only change to the starting line-up.

Predicted Chelsea team vs Malmö

(If Kepa and Zappacosta don’t recover from hamstring and fever issues, expect Willy Caballero & Cesar Azpilicueta to play.)

Predicted Chelsea team vs Malmö FF

Predicted Chelsea team vs Malmö FF

Predicted Malmö team vs Chelsea

Predicted Malmö FF team vs Chelsea

Predicted Malmö FF team vs Chelsea

The latest tweets from Chelsea pre-Malmö

The latest tweets from Malmö pre-Chelsea

All odds mentioned in this article are correct at the time of publishing and are subject to change.

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