It took a while for Chelsea to break through Newcastle’s defence at the weekend, though once Reece James’ thunderous effort found the top corner in the second half, two more followed and the Blues extended their lead at the top of the table, with both Liverpool and Man City dropping points.
Attention now turns back to Europe though, where they’ve lost just two of their last 16 outings, conceding just five times across that run and another victory here could go a long way to securing their place in the last-16, depending on results elsewhere in the group.
Malmo sit bottom of this group having lost all three outings so far, and realistically only a third-place finish is feasible for the Swedish side. Despite their shortcomings in Europe, they’re still sit top of the Allsvenskan, albeit by a single point at this late stage of the season.
Their form has somewhat dipped, winning just six of their last 15 matches across all competitions and while they come into this off the back of successive victories, they both came by narrow one goal margins, the most recent via a 90th minute winner against Sirius, and they’ll need to up their game against Chelsea.
It’s hard to see the hosts getting anything from here with a serious gulf in class between these sides.
Chelsea have won five of their last six unbeaten games across all competitions, only conceding once in that time, a run which included a heavy 4-0 defeat of Malmo themselves just two weeks ago.
Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner remain absent for the visitors, though while that would imply a lack of output, though the blues have averaged a goal every 23 minutes since that duo left the pitch in the reverse fixture, with the rest of the team very much stepping up to the plate.
Chelsea -1.5 Handicap
That leaves the value in the handicap market, with Chelsea winning by at least two clear goals in eight of their 10 victories so far this season, and while Malmo haven’t lost by more than a single goal in any of their domestic outings since the beginning of May, their three group stage matches have seen them go down 3-0, 4-0 and 4-0 to Juventus, Zenit, and Chelsea, respectively.
The reason Chelsea have been able to cope without a recognised striker is their absence of reliability on forward goalscorers, with their defenders all capable of getting in on the action.
Indeed, they’ve scored 23 times across their last 11 outings excluding Max Aarons’ own goal, with 11 different scorers finding the net in that time.
Reece James and Ben Chilwell have six goals between them across the last six matches, and if they were to start here then they would make great options in the any time goalscorer market, though it’s unclear whether or not Thomas Tuchel will opt to rotate, so that market should be ignored until the team announcement.
CHELSEA -1.5 HANDICAP