Can Chelsea take some positives from a poor week, or will Malmo achieve the unthinkable and knock The Blues out of The Europa League?
It’s been a tough few weeks for Chelsea, The Premier League title is completely out of the question now after embarrassing defeats to Bournemouth and Manchester City, they squeezed past Thursday’s opponents before being knocked out of The FA Cup on Monday by Manchester United.
Monday’s defeat was indicative of what Chelsea have become in recent weeks; lacklustre, lethargic and dull. They were outclassed by a wonderful Manchester United performance. The Blues couldn’t deal with the pace and power of United’s side, particularly Paul Pogba, who ran riot at Stamford Bridge in the 2-0 win. Other than Hazard there is a severe lack of pace and drive in the Chelsea squad, and Hazard was beginning to look rather fed up with it all on Monday night as he tirelessly worked to try and create a spark, with very little help from his teammates.
Sarri’s hopes of staying in the job are dwindling, despite poor results he still had them competing on three fronts, but now with the FA Cup gone and a Carabao Cup final against a Man City side that just stuck six past them, The Europa League is looking like his only lifeline. If you fancy the bad times to continue for Chelsea, you can back Malmo as the massive outsiders. They’re 14.0 to win in 90 minutes and out at 19.0 to qualify.
The hots go in to the second leg after winning 2-1 in Sweden. The two away goals are an absolute dream heading in to the second leg, as it forces Malmo to have to score twice, a feat they couldn’t manage in the first leg.
The Swede’s were restricted to long range efforts and got very few clear sights of goal, mainly due to their lack of the ball. Chelsea maintained around 75% of possession across the 90 minutes, having Malmo pinned in their own final third for long periods of the game. Malmo did threaten from set pieces, causing several goal mouth scrambles. Chelsea should’ve left with more than just the two goals, chances fell to the two goal scorers Giroud and Barkley but neither could add a third.
We’re likely to see much of the same dominance from Chelsea, regardless of their poor form, they were a cut above Malmo in the first leg and will want to assert their dominance at the bridge. Olivier Giroud was the focal point of the attack in the first leg, the Frenchman is expected to start again this game ahead of Gonzalo Higuain. You can back him to score first at a price of 4.5 or anytime at 1.83.
It’s an opportunity for Chelsea to right some of their wrongs. They have all the quality to comfortably beat Malmo and put themselves in to the next, it’s also an opportunity for some of the fringe players to stake their claim for more game time. Giroud is a prime example, Hudson-Odoi is expected to feature too, and he’ll be desperate to show his quality.
Olivier Giroud to score anytime @ 1.83
Over 2.5 goals @ 1.57
Chelsea to win in 90 minutes @ 1.2