Eden Hazard

Malmö vs Chelsea betting tips: Europa League preview & predictions

Malmö vs Chelsea prediction: Malmö 0-2 Chelsea

This is Malmö’s first competitive fixture since facing Besiktas in the ultimate Europa League group game back on the 13th of December 2018. While they have played some pre-season matches in Marbella this month, the concern will be match sharpness against a Chelsea side who are in the middle of their season.

For Chelsea, they probably wish they could erase everything since December. Certainly the away games, as they have failed to score and lost all three league games in 2019 away from home.

Their two most recent defeats, 4-0 at Bournemouth and 6-0 at Manchester City, have been labelled ‘embarrassing’ by many with calls for Sarri’s exit from large sections of the fans.

Perhaps this match can act as a stay of execution for him. Assuming things go Chelsea’s way, of course.

Malmö vs Chelsea: 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)

Thursday’s match against Chelsea marks the first time the pair will encounter each other in European competition. It is the first time Malmö face English opposition since 1995/96 when they were eliminated from the UEFA Cup by Nottingham Forest on away goals. They also lost the 1978/79 European Cup final to the same opponents, 1-0. They are the 7/1 outsiders to win here.

Chelsea have drawn three of their four matches against Swedish opponents in European competition. They drew both legs of the 1971/72 Cup Winners’ Cup, losing on away goals, to Atvidaberg. They also drew 0-0 at Helsingborg in the same competition in 1998/99, but went through after winning the home leg 1-0. The odds of another draw for them here are 4/1.

Chelsea have never lost to Swedish opposition in European competition in four matches. However, they have also never won a match on Swedish soil.

Can they finally do so on Thursday night? They are the bookies favourites at 4/11.

Malmö vs Chelsea: 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)

Marcus Antonsson is Malmö’s top scorer in the competition with three goals in six appearances. It was his goal at Besiktas in the final group game which gave Malmö the 0-1 win, ultimately seeing them qualify at the expense of the Turkish side. He is 11/1 to score first and 10/3 to score at any time.

Olivier Giroud is Chelsea’s top scorer in the competition with four goals in five appearances in the group stage. However, he hasn’t scored for Chelsea in his last nine appearances. His last goal was his equaliser against Vidi FC in the final Europa League group L match. He is 9/2 to score first and 5/4 to score at any time.

Gonzalo Higuaín is the bookies favourites to score first on Thursday at 10/3; 5/6 to score at any time. He already has two goals in this competition this season for AC Milan. He will be looking to follow up on his brace against Huddersfield with his first Chelsea goals in European competition here.

Malmö vs Chelsea: Match preview

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)

Given the quality of the opposition, the expectation is for this to be a typical ‘Sarri-ball’ game against a much inferior opponent.

Indeed, Chelsea are the top side in this competition in terms of dominating possession (66.1%), passing accuracy (90.8%) and shots per 90 (22.7). While at the other end of the pitch, the have the lowest shots against (6.3) and 2nd lowest fouls conceded (9.3) per 90.

While Malmö are 41st of 48 teams for shots per game (7.8) and 39th for passing accuracy (73.7%). This suggests we should expect Chelsea to have most of the ball and the chances that come with it.

However, where Malmö do excel is in making the most of the few shots they do take. They take the lowest number of shots per game from outside the box (2.3) per 90. Only Eintracht Frankfurt has a better ratio of their shots being from inside the penalty area also, with 71.2% to Malmö’s 70.5%.

Chelsea have taken the highest number of shots from outside the box, with 9.7 per 90. Only 57.2% of their shooting occurs inside the opponent’s penalty area.

The hope for Malmö will be if they can shut down the key spaces in and around their box, Chelsea can be frustrated into taking pot shots from poor shot locations rather than fashioning good scoring chances closer to goal.

Malmö team news vs Chelsea

Malmö are currently in pre-season, with the Allsvenskan not restarting until April. They come into the tie without any injury or suspension problems.

Søren Rieks, Andreas Vindheim, Fouad Bachirou and Rasmus Bengtsson are all walking the yellow-card tightrope. They will miss the return leg if they are booked on Thursday.

Pre-season signings, Adi Nalic, Dusan Melicharek, Anel Ahmedhodzic and Erdal Rakip, have all been added to Malmö’s squad for the knockout phase and may make their competitive debut for the Swedish side here.

Chelsea team news vs Malmö

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 27: Callum Hudson-Odoi of Chelsea acknowledges the fans during the FA Cup Fourth Round match between Chelsea and Sheffield Wednesday at Stamford Bridge on January 27, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Chelsea manager, Maurizio Sarri, has typically used the Europa League this season for his second-string players. Thursday’s match against Malmö will likely be no different.

Although, those who come in will do so knowing a good performance may keep them in the side, if Sarri loses faith in those who were destroyed 6-0 by Manchester City at the weekend, and 4-0 by Bournemouth recently.

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

Callum Hudson-Odoi has been suffering from illness this week. However, he is expected to be fine to start on Thursday.

Likewise for Gary Cahill, who has been struggling with a lower back injury.

Gonzalo Higuain is eligible to play despite previously participating in the competition for AC Milan this season. UEFA announced last season, that they will phase out the cup tie rule for the Champions League and Europa League starting in the 2018-2019 season. Sarri may opt to use the match to help improve his match fitness and cohesion with his new team-mates.

Predicted Malmö team vs Chelsea

Predicted Malmö FF team vs Chelsea

Predicted Malmö FF team vs Chelsea

Predicted Chelsea team vs Malmö

Predicted Chelsea team vs Malmö FF

Predicted Chelsea team vs Malmö FF

The latest tweets from Malmö pre-Chelsea

https://twitter.com/Malmo_FF/status/1095314263365832705

The latest tweets from Chelsea pre-Malmö

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

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