2019-02-13 by W.M.
Malmo vs. Chelsea: Odds, Preview, Live Stream, TV Info for Europa League Match | Bleacher Report
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The Blues will face the Swedish outfit at the Swedbank Stadion in the first leg of the competition’s round of 32, and they’ll aim to secure a positive result to take back to Stamford Bridge next week.
As for Malmo, their challenge will be made even more difficult by the fact they’re currently in their offseason, with the 2019 Allsvenskan campaign not set to begin until March 31.
Date: Thursday, February 14
Time: 8 p.m. GMT/3 p.m. ET
TV: BT Sport 2 (UK)
Odds: Malmo (39-4), Draw (17-4), Chelsea (7-19)
Odds courtesy of Oddschecker.
Though it’s unlikely that many of the players who started for Chelsea against City will be involved here, Goal’s Nizaar Kinsella suggested Malmo to be ideal opponents for the Blues:
Nizaar Kinsella @NizaarKinsella
What’s the best match after losing 6-0 to Man City for Chelsea? One against a club with a wage bill that’s 24 times smaller than the one they have, perhaps. It would be one of the great European upsets to see Malmo win. https://t.co/z4dU7KRJJm
The Daily Mail‘s Charlie Skillen is looking forward to seeing Chelsea’s youngsters get a run out:
Charlie Skillen @charlieskillen
I’m hoping the players used on Thursday can inject a bit of life into the team – expecting to see Ampadu, Hudson-Odoi, Loftus-Cheek, Emerson… think they could give the side that starts in the league (who look shot) a game.
With the Blues’ first-team stars likely to be rested for Monday’s FA Cup clash with Manchester United, the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek should be handed some much-needed minutes in Sweden.
Both players have used the Europa League to showcase their talents at times this season, with the former grabbing a goal and an assist against PAOK, while the latter netted a hat-trick against BATE Borisov.
Chelsea face City again on February 24 in the Carabao Cup final before taking on Tottenham Hotspur in a key Premier League game three days later, and strong showings against Malmo could help their chances.
As journalist Dan Levene noted, the Europa League has also taken on some added significance in light of their last match:
Dan Levene @danlevene
After humiliation at City, and Chelsea’s slip to 6th, focus turns to the only other route into the CL.
Thurs night in Malmö is now a huge game.
Chelsea’s whole business plan is based on the added revenue & exposure of CL football.
Two seasons out would be seen as a catastrophe.
The Blues are only one point off the top four in the Premier League, but they’ll face stiff competition from United and Arsenal to finish there this season.
Winning the Europa League is perhaps their best chance of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League this season, and in doing so they’d secure a major trophy in the process.
For now, beating Malmo may not alleviate any of the pressure on manager Maurizio Sarri—they’ll need to beat United and City to do that—but failing to do so will only compound it.