We shift gears and hopefully drop a few difficulty levels after Saturday’s nail-biting win at Brentford, as we welcome back Malmö FF to Stamford Bridge. The Swedish champions were last here in early 2019, during the darkest days of Sarri-ball, though we did get past them with relative ease in the Europa League’s Round of 32 on our way to eventually winning the whole thing.
The stakes are slightly lower and the mood much, much better this time around, but a win is still very much expected. It’s quite favorable to get the “Pot 4” team as the middle set of fixtures in a group stage, and winning today and in a fortnight would just about secure our place in the knockout rounds, despite the Juventus loss.
Of course, we mustn’t overlook a team who have nothing to lose.
Date / Time: Wednesday, October 20, 2021, 20.00 BST; 3pm EDT; 12:30am IST (next day)
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: François Letexier (on pitch); Alejandro Hernández (VAR) — Letexier was in charge of the 2019 UEFA Youth League final, which we lost 3-1 to Porto.
On TV: BT Sport 3 (UK); none (USA); Sony TEN 1 (India); SuperSport Variety (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: BT Sport Live (UK); Paramount+, TUDNxtra (USA); Sony LIV (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Chelsea team news: Everyone except Christian Pulisic’s available. Pulisic is apparently “very close” but we’ve heard that before. The whole thing is a bit frustrating, especially as Chelsea’s attacking woes continue. Romelu Lukaku could be rested to try to help him recover for the weekend, which could see the likes of Kai Havertz or Callum Hudson-Odoi get a chance to impress.
Thomas Tuchel has experimented with the 3-5-2 lately, but we could also see a return to the tried and trusty 3-4-3. The differences between those two can be minor, but there’s certainly room to improve.
Malmö FF team news: Malmö won the league for the 24th time in their history last season — and 5th in the last 8 seasons. So far they’re on track to add another one to that, though it’s a very tight race in the Allsvenskan: three teams at the top all on 44 points, and another just below at 42.
We might remember some of their names from a couple years ago, including captain Anders Christiansen — not to be confused with our own Andreas Christensen — and briefly Chelsea-linked defender Anel Ahmedhodžić. He is however suspended for this one.
Malmö lost their first group game 3-0 (to Juventus) and their second game 4-0 (to Zenit St Petersburg). Let’s make it 5-0?
Previously: Chelsea won 3-0 in the second leg of the Round of 32 back in 2019 to secure our place in the next round (5-1 on aggregate). Olivier Giroud, Ross Barkley, and Callum Hudson-Odoi all scored!