15 February 2019
Returning to competitive action after two months of inactivity, Malmo host a struggling Chelsea team to the Swedbank Stadion for the first leg of the Europa League last-16 tie.
The Swedish giants have won just one of four warm-up clashes in 2019 (W1, D2, L1), failing to hit the net in the previous two. But, having finished as the runners-up in Group I, behind Genk, the hosts hope to extend a five-game unbeaten run in Europe (W2, D3). Although won just one of three home outings in the Europa League this term (W1, D2), the Himmelsblått have scored 2+ match goals twice so far. Uwe Rosler’s men have been impressive at home over the past seven months considering they are unbeaten in their last 18 home games across all competitions (W10, D8).
After a humiliating 6-0 loss to Manchester City, under-fire Maurizio Sarri can’t afford another failure if looking to prolong his stay at Stamford Bridge. The Blues have comfortably secured their place in the last 16, finishing top of Group L with a record of five wins and one draw. However, the Pensioners are experiencing the most challenging time under Sarri, having lost four of their last eight competitive games, failing to hit the back of the net in each defeat. An inexplicable drop-off in form has seen Chelsea going from a four-game unbeaten road run (W3, D1) to four consecutive losses. During that nightmarish period, Sarri’s men have conceded 13 goals, not scoring a single one in the process.
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