Both team began the game in energetic, if slightly disorganized and disjointed fashion. Eventually we settled into the expected pattern, but while Chelsea once again hogged all the possession, and dominated the shot count as well, unlike two weeks ago, were unable to breach their goal in the first half.
Kai Havertz came closest but his tight-angle shot was smothered well. Malmo’s goalkeeper had trouble handling the ball all game, leaving several juicy rebounds, but in that case, he was perfect. Alonso did come close to poking one said rebound into the net as well, while Loftus-Cheek missed the top corner a couple times, once from a corner header, then again with a curling effort from the top of the box.
Malmo also came close to a shock goal, but Colak missed the net by a few inches on an acrobatic volley from a ball over the top, just before the half-time.
It was more of the same in the second half, until Callum Hudson-Odoi decided he’s had enough — including a handball by Malmo that went uncalled — and put it on a platter for Ziyech just before the hour-mark. He couldn’t miss, and didn’t. That just about decided the game.
Thiago Silva then came close to doubling our lead, but his flicked effort on a corner was cleared off the line.
Chelsea created a few more chances in the final 15 minutes, finishing with well over 20 shots for the game, but were unable to add to our advantage, Havertz coming closest before Pulisic missed an open net with the final kick of the game.
No matter; job done. Three points.
- Three changes from the weekend, including both wing-backs plus Loftus-Cheek coming in for Kanté, who was rested
- Good to see Christian Pulisic back at long last. He played the final 15+, along with Barkley, who played more in midfield than Ziyech (i.e. more of a 3-5-2)
- Only two subs used, with the scoreline tight throughout
- Zero shots on target for Malmo. 12 clean sheets in 16 Champions League games for Mendy
- Chelsea now on 9 points from 12 in the group. If Juventus beat Zenit later today, we’re practically (almost) in the knockout rounds.
- Next up: Burnley at home on Saturday, then international break