Champions League holders Chelsea welcome Malmo to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening for matchday 3 in Group H.
Chelsea’s Champions League title defense began with a slender 1-0 victory over Zenit St Petersburg, with Romelu Lukaku heading in the only goal of the game. They however fell to a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Italian side Juventus on matchday 2. Despite dominating 73% possession, a Federico Chiesa goal 10 seconds into the second half was enough to secure the win for the Italians as the Blues failed to score against a defense-minded Juve side. They now sit second in Group E having won and lost one of their first two games. Despite being favorites in this fixture, Chelsea must improve on an under-par performance last weekend. Thomas Tuchel’s men managed a hard-fought win over newly-promoted Brentford although they did have to hang onto their 1-0 lead in the second half, with goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to thank for a number of crucial saves that helped them remain at the top of the Premier League standings. Influential defender Anthony Rudiger is still out with a back injury. Christain Pulisic remains sidelined with a knee injury. Midfielders Hakim Ziyech and Saul are major doubts. We are likely to see an attacking duo of Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner, supported by Mason Mount in an attacking midfield role.
Malmo’s Champions League campaign has not been going to plan so far. Having fought so hard to get to this point, they will have been disappointed by their opening two performances. They lost 3-0 to Juventus on home ground in the opening fixture and couldn’t respond as they lost yet again 4-0 to Zenith Petersburg on matchday two. With back-to-back Champions league fixtures against the defending champions, Malmo will need more than a miracle to progress to knock-out stages. Malmo are currently in the midst of a tight battle for their domestic title, tied at the top with Djurgardens IF and AIK Fotboll on 44 points with seven games left to play and Head Coach Jon Dahl Tomasson will have to make priorities decisions. Oscar Lewicki, Jonas Knudsen, and Ola Toivonen are all sidelined with knee issues, whilst Anel Ahmedhodzic is suspended and unavailable for selection.
The Blues have kept six clean sheets in nine matches in the Champions League under Tuchel. They however haven’t scored more than twice in the champions league under Thomas Tuchel. Chelsea will be confident of making it three successive victories at home to a Malmo side who have looked out of their depth in this year’s Champions League to this point.
PREDICTION: CHELSEA WIN 2-0/2-1/3-0/3-1
ACCUMULATOR TIP: CHELSEA OVER 1.5 TEAM GOALS