22 February 2019
Chelsea and Malmo FF face-off at Stamford Bridge as the in the return leg of the Europa League last-32 fixture, in a match the London giants have to win to shrug off the recent criticism.
After a disappointing 2-0 home loss to Manchester United in the FA Cup, Maurizio Sarri has to book a place in the Europa League last-16 if looking to remain in charge. The Blues are going through the most complicated period of the season having lost three of their last five games across all competitions. In those three defeats, the Pensioners have conceded 12 goals without hitting the net once. However, prior to the aforementioned failure against the Red Devils, Sarri’s men have picked up five consecutive home wins, scoring 2+ match goals four times in the process. What’s more, Chelsea have managed four clean sheets in their last seven home outings, restricting their rivals to a maximum of one goal per match on another two occasions.
Anders Christiansen’s goal in the 80th minute at the Swedbank Stadion has given the visitors a glimmer of hope, but they have a long way to go before performing a miracle. The Himmelsblått come into this meeting following a 3-2 victory over the Swedish second-tier outfit Degerfors in the domestic cup, in only their second competitive clash in 2019. Uwe Rosler’s men have pulled off three successive road triumphs before the winter break, scoring six goals while conceding zero in the process. But, Malmo’s record of five defeats in seven meetings with the English teams in Europe (W1, D1, L5) can hardly console their manager, especially given the fact they’ve netted just three goals against the Premier League sides in their entire history.
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