We switch gears and focus once again, from the Premier League title-fight to an important Champions League match.
Malmö may be the whipping boys of Group H, but that makes today’s away match against them a most crucial one in our aim to get out of the group and into the knockout rounds. With games against Juventus (home) and Zenit St Petersburg (away) left to go after this one, a win today would just about get the job done — especially if Juventus were to beat Zenit today as well.
This is an earlier kick-off than usual for our Champions League matches, and there’s also the end of daylight savings in Europe to consider, so don’t miss it!
Date / Time: Tuesday, November 2, 2021, 17:45 GMT; 1:45pm EDT; 11:15pm IST
Venue: Eleda Stadion, Malmö, Sweden
Referee: Felix Brych (on pitch); Sascha Stegemann (VAR) — Brych is a very familiar name and face and one who featured in both of our Champions League-winning campaign (1-0 at Atlético last year, plus the 1-0 v Barcelona and the 4-1 v Napoli in 2012); this will be his sixth (6th!) Chelsea match in fact though the first that isn’t a knockout round one
On TV: BT Sport 2 (UK); TUDN, UniMás (USA); Sony TEN 2 (India); SuperSport MaXimo 1, Canal+ Sport 4 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: BT Sport Live (UK); Paramount+, Univision Now, TUDNxtra (USA); Sony LIV (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Malmö FF team news: Since we last saw them, Malmö dropped points to midtable Varberg, but then beat title-rivals AIK Stockholm (who are in a bit of a free-fall) and also picked up all three points against relegation-threatened Sirius (Black ... and blue) over the weekend. With a title race tighter than a Harry Potter supporting character’s character arc, Malmö have a one-point lead at the top of the table right now, with four games to go. Elfsborg are second while Djurgårdens, who have led most of the way, are now third, a further two points behind. AIK have lost three of four but are still just four points off the leaders. Expecto dramatico!
Malmö do still have a shot at third place in the group however as well (and thus the Europa League knockout rounds), so they won’t be completely rolling over for us. But they certainly won’t be rushing back captain Anders Christiansen from injury, though Sweden international midfielder Oscar Lewicki is expected to be available after missing much of the season with various injuries.
Head coach Jon Dahl Tomasson’s expecting a fun party under the lights at the sold out arena, and will certainly be hoping that his team can finally score a goal at least in the group stage, if nothing else.
“We are involved in this party playing Champions League and we want to be part of the party.”
-John Dahl Tomasson; source: The National
Chelsea team news: Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner, Mason Mount, Mateo Kovačić, and N’Golo Kanté are not welcome to this party however. All five have stayed behind in London for treatment and recovery — Kanté as precaution more than anything. Mount misses out through illness (not COVID) while the other three are probably out until at least after the international break, which starts next week.
We’ve scored 19 and conceded just 2 (both to Southampton) during the current six-mach winning streak (all competitions), including the 4-0 win in the reverse fixture a fortnight ago. That win came at a steep (injury) cost (losing both Lukaku and Werner), so hopefully we can avoid having to pay a similar price this time around. Kai Havertz has been deputizing more than capably at striker, with Hudson-Odoi getting plenty of minutes as well. We also have Christian Pulisic back in the squad for the first time since the Harry Potter books were new, while 18-year-old midfielder Harvey Vale has traveled as well.
A win is certainly expected, but it is still up to us to focus, perform, and deliver on those expectations.
Previously: Two goals in the first half, plus two more in the second made it a very easy day for Chelsea on the previous matchday two weeks ago.