A decent enough performance from the Blues and a much needed result, even if it’s a closer scoreline than it really should’ve been.
It was a bruising 90 minutes for Chelsea, with Malmo allowed to kick and impede and hack with impunity — no yellows from the referee at all! — but the Blues did enough to produce not only the first away win of 2019 but the first away goals of the calendar year as well.
Too bad about the silly late goal given up.
Job done, and Chelsea in good position for the second leg in a week’s time. (Certainly better than Arsenal, who lost 1-0 to BATE. HA-HA!)
- A strong, but slightly strange lineup from Sarri, with Barkley, Jorginho, Kovacic across the middle. Willian and Pedro flanked Giroud, while Emerson and Christensen started in defense alongside the usuals in David Luiz and Azpilicueta.
- Like-for-like subs in Hazard (!?) for Willian and Hudson-Odoi for Pedro late. Kante also making an unnecessary appearance, replacing Jorginho, with Kovacic dropping into the deepest position afterwards.
- Impressive atmosphere by the fervent home support.
- Absolute joke of a referee. 19 fouls called on Malmo, including several from behind, 0 yellows.
- Next up: Manchester United in the FA Cup on Monday