After their 6-0 hammering at the hands of Manchester City, Chelsea will be happy that their first leg will not be at Stamford Bridge in front of their home fans! Mauricio Sarri will be demanding a winning performance in their Europa League round of 32 clash in the hope it will restore some confidence ahead of their massive FA Cup tie against Manchester United. Form Labs bring you their betting preview and tips for the game and if you are after some Europa League value then head over to our selection of enhanced odds in our FanBoosts section.
All Not Well At Chelsea
Clearly all is not well at Chelsea and it’s difficult to know which of their past two away results have been worse – the 4-0 trouncing they received at Bournemouth or the 6-0 humiliation at the Etihad.
Either way, it leaves them with four defeats on the trot away from Stamford Bridge without finding the net, though the other two defeats were more conservative efforts inflicted by Spurs and Arsenal, while of course Malmo won’t offer the same standard of opposition.
Malmo Shouldn’t Be A Threat
The Swedes are one of the weakest sides left in the field and only won two of six group stage matches (W2-D3-L1) to qualify in second place behind Genk and ahead of Besiktas and Sarpsborg.
That’s hardly the most daunting cluster of teams to be paired with and the last time Malmo encountered real quality in Europe, they were absolutely annihilated in the 2015/16 Champions League group stages.
Indeed, they lost without scoring in five of six matches, including 8-0, 5-0 and 4-0 drubbings to Real Madrid, PSG and Shakhtar Donetsk respectively in the final three games.
However, we’re not particularly expecting Chelsea to turn a corner and run riot – even if they have managed 3-0 and 5-0 wins hosting Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield respectively when facing weaker challenges of late.
Will Sarri Rest His Top Players?
Chelsea were shocked with a 2-2 stalemate away in their final group stage clash with MOL Vidi, but they’d already guaranteed to top the group by that point after winning their opening five matches as they kept four clean sheets.
Maurizio Sarri has inevitably used the competition to largely rest his first team players, though he hasn’t completely put out the B team with his starting line-ups generally sprinkled with one or two regulars. With the prospects of Champions League football through their league position looking increasingly slim as Man Utd surge up the table, expect Chelsea to take this competition seriously – just as they did when they won it in 2012/13. However, half of Chelsea’s group stage matches were won 1-0, including trips to PAOK and BATE Borisov, and so we wouldn’t put anyone off the correct score either.
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*odds subject to change.