Chelsea are back under the Stamford Bridge lights for their 3rd Champions League night of the season. Mixed fortunes have come to the Blues with one win and one loss in the campaign thus far. A 1-0 victory over Zenit, and a 1-0 defeat to Juventus leave Chelsea currently 2nd in Group H. The reigning champions need to secure three points tonight to boost their chances of topping the group. Eyes will also be fixated on the Gazprom Arena in St Petersburg with group toppers Juventus away to the Russian giants.
Swedish side Malmo stand in Chelsea’s way this evening, with the visitors looking to secure not only their first points of the campaign, but also their first goal. Malmo have the joint worst goal difference with -7, level with Besiktas who have played one more game than the Allsvenskan league leaders. Chelsea last faced Malmo in their 2018/19 Europa League winning season, breezing past the Swedish side 5-1 across both legs. Thomas Tuchel will look to ensure theses fortunes can be repeated this evening.
The current holders are back to winning ways, securing victory in their last two games. Before that, however, Chelsea lost two consecutive games for just the second time under Tuchel, but the Blues will put that deep in their rear view mirrors, and look ahead to tonight’s game. Despite the pride of London being clear favourites, there is still a vastly important task ahead, and Chelsea need a convincing victory to pressurise the group leaders.
Team news and updates:
Chelsea team news is pretty straight forward for this evening, with Tuchel revealing that Christian Pulisic is the only absentee from the squad. As frustrating as it is to see Pulisic still not back to fitness, it is however a refreshing sight to see everyone else available for the clash.
Reece James was the media man ahead of the Champions League fixture, with the right back claiming tonight is a good opportunity to start rebuilding some momentum.
‘Tomorrow is a Champions League game, and the Champions League is a tough competition in football. Anything can happen, so we still need to prepare right. It’s not going to be an easy game, they’re a good side. Hopefully we can get the win and start building momentum.’Reece James via chelseafc.com
It is also great news to know that Antonio Rudiger is back from injury, as the German centre half has proved to be pivotal for Chelsea since Thomas Tuchel’s arrival at Stamford Bridge.
James, Christensen, Rudiger, Chilwell
Loftus-Cheek, Kante, Jorginho
Hudson-Odoi, Lukaku, Werner
I’ve gone for a four at the back for this tie as I expect Tuchel will want to give players like Chalobah, Sarr and Azpilicueta a rest after a stellar job against Brentford on Saturday. Loftus Cheek keeps his place as I believe he has been the standout of the last few weeks, with electric performances every time he has been called upon. Hudson Odoi gets in the side for me as I think this is the perfect game to put him in and try and improve his confidence. This also goes for Werner, who has been in good form recently.
Players to watch:
Ruben Loftus Cheek: As aforementioned, RLC has been nothing short of phenomenal since his return to the Bridge this season. Ruben is showing glimpses of his sheer quality that us Chelsea fans know he possesses, and is showing no signs of slowing down. A start against Malmo tonight could be perfect for the Englishman who could seriously run the show tonight.
Antonio Colak: Malmo’s number 9 has put up some serious numbers in his respective league this season, with 11 goals and four assists to his name. Malmo will hope that Colak can provide a threat to Chelsea’s defence this evening, but the Croatian will have to produce something special to beat the inform Edouard Mendy, who put up a display for the ages on Saturday against Brentford.
Chelsea 3-0 Malmo
Lukaku, Hudson Odoi, Werner
Written by @mashgreaves