Chelsea will look to rediscover some of the rhythm that has seemingly been drifting away from them in recent weeks as they welcome Group H strugglers Malmo to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. Thomas Tuchel's side may have won their last two games but they made heavy weather of their win over Brentford at the weekend and are playing catch up with leaders Juventus after their loss in Turin last month.
However, they ought to have enough to overcome a Malmo side that have lost 3-0 to Juventus and 4-0 to Zenit Saint Petersburg so far in the group stage. The Swedes have won only one of their seven games against English opposition and even then they were knocked out by Nottingham Forest in the second leg of the first round of the 1995-96 UEFA Cup. It will take something special indeed if they are to end that run of misfortune in England. Here is how you can watch the match and what you need to know:
- Date: Wednesday, Oct. 20 | Time: 3 p.m. ET
- Location: Stamford Bridge -- London
- TV and live stream: Paramount+
- Odds: Chelsea -1200; Draw +900; Malmo +3500 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Chelsea: It has been a while since Tuchel's side have had a really assertive performance at both ends of the pitch and indeed in recent weeks they have developed unwelcome vulnerabilities at the back to go with a profligacy in front of goal that has been the one cause of frustration throughout the German's tenure. He admits that his side are not quite at the level they might be, pointing to the tiredness of a group of players who have had to juggle club fixtures on multiple fronts with their international duty.
"I think we lack a little bit of form and enthusiasm in the last percent and I think that one big reason is that we play too much," Tuchel said in his pre-match press conference. "Not 'we' as a club, but the players play too much. This is the situation right now and what we are facing but this is nothing new, the next break is coming soon and it won't change.
"We also have another competition in January or February to play in [both the FA Cup and the Club World Cup] and sometimes things can look a bit harder than it should be but don't forget this is the Premier League. It is the toughest league in the world and there is no shame in having a tight match against Brentford and there is absolutely no shame in getting a late winner against Southampton, it is what it is."
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Malmo: A heavy defeat to Zenit last time out may well mean that Malmo's European fate is already secured for the remainder of the season. Certainly with back to back games to come against the holders it seems eminently possible that the other three teams in this group come slip away from the Swedes.
In such circumstances might Jon Dahl Tomasson conclude he has bigger fish to fry elsewhere? A 3-0 win over Ostersunds on Saturday took Malmo back to the top of the Allsvenskan but only goal difference separates them from Djurgarden and AIK. With Elsborg and Norkopping also in the title race and Di blae struggling for consistent results in the league, might this be the time to save players for the title race?
This could be a great game for Chelsea forwards to get back among the goals even if Malmo are unlikely to simply roll over and accept defeat. PICK: Chelsea 2 Malmo 0