Malmo FF v Chelsea: Full-backs offer value in Blues cruise

Malmo FF v Chelsea: Full-backs offer value in Blues cruise

Chelsea keep motoring on

Despite the loss of strikers Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner to injury – both suffered in the first game against Malmo – Chelsea are flying.

Without their two front players, they’ve netted 10 times in their last two Premier League games, with goals coming from all sources.

Some are even suggesting they operate better with false nines rather than actual nines although let’s bear in mind that their two opponents in those two recent wins were Norwich and Newcastle.

Then again, Malmo can be considered on a similar level so the obvious question – will they miss the strikers against tougher opposition? – probably doesn’t need to be asked yet.

Thomas Tuchel’s men cruised to a 4-0 win in the first meeting at Stamford Bridge thanks to goals from Andreas Christensen, Jorginho (two) and Kai Havertz.

That took Chelsea to six points from three games but the defeat to Juventus in their second match means they can’t afford to let up with Zenit only three points behind.

Malmo’s limitations being exposed

It’s three defeats out of three so far for Malmo who are playing the role of group whipping boys rather too well.

They lost their opener 3-0 at home to a then wobbling Juventus before losing 4-0 at Zenit in Petersburg.

In their 4-0 defeat at Chelsea they had just 27% possession and didn’t manage a shot on target. So far, they’ve yet to score a goal in Group H.

Not that it’s particularly relevant given this huge step up in class, but at least Malmo are still top of the Swedish Allsvenskan after taking seven points from nine since losing to Chelsea last time.

Manager Jon Dahl Tomasson said after that loss in west London: “You could see that the team kept fighting, even at 4-0 down. The boys worked hard together against a very good side.”

But he also struck a realistic tone. “In recent years, the gap has gotten bigger between the biggest clubs and the rest of the clubs in the world.”

This certainly isn’t 1979 when Malmo reached the European Cup final against Nottingham Forest.

Chelsea are predictably short at 1.222/9 to get the victory. It’s 7.413/2 for The Draw while Malmo are 18.017/1 to get the win, a price that doesn’t seem anywhere near big enough.

I went for the 3-0 scoreline in the first game and just missed as Chelsea scored one too many.

With Malmo an honest bunch if nothing else, I’m happy to give Chelsea 3-0 another try at 7.87/1.

It’s becoming quite a typical Chelsea scoreline and they registered their fourth 3-0 win of the campaign against Newcastle at the weekend.

When it comes to the goalscoring charts this season, Chelsea’s are upside down.

In the Premier League, 12 have been scored by defenders, nine by midfielders and just four by forwards. Christensen also scored the opener against Malmo at Stamford Bridge.

Christensen, Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta have played all three Champions League matches so far but it’s the full-backs who keep knocking them in for the Blues.

Ben Chilwell has three in his last six for Chelsea (he also scored for England against Andorra) while Reece James has four in his last 11 following a brilliant brace at Newcastle.

The big question mark is whether they’ll start so you may want to hold bets until seeing team news.

However, for now I’ll put up both to score anytime – Chilwell at 6.611/2 and James at 11.010/1.

Chelsea don’t play again until Saturday and that’s a home game against Burnley before there’s yet another pesky international break.

Therefore, Tuchel may go strong against Malmo to get the job done early before introducing substitutes if the game is won.