Match Preview

PMB: Malmo v Chelsea - matchday

The final part of the Pre-Match Briefing gets you ready for today's game..

• The aim tonight is for Chelsea to end a run of four defeats on the road without finding the net away since 30 December. Scoring in Sweden is especially important as in the event of an aggregate draw at the end of normal time in the second leg, the away goals rule will apply.

• January loan signing Gonzalo Higuain would have been cup-tied last season, but is available thanks to changes in regulations by UEFA. The Argentinean has 36 goals to his name from 105 European matches, though a medal in these competitions has so far eluded him.

• Our Denmark defender Andreas Christensen hails from Allerod, just 50 miles away across the Ostersund. Teenage forward Callum Hudson-Odoi may have a chance tonight to add to his tally of a goal, an assist and four appearances in this competition.


THREE IN ONE QUIZ


• Malmo’s German coach Uwe Rosler maintains a settled line-up, with 11 men involved in every group-stage game. However, after two group stage games the former Man City player and Brentford boss switched from 4-4-2 to the 5-3-2 with wing-backs we will likely see again tonight. Upfront, captain Markus Rosenberg, now 36, is likely to play behind top scorer Marcus Antonsson, with Arnor Ingvi Traustason an option if they fancy more dribbling and crosses from the flank.

• Rosenberg faced the Blues for 20 minutes while at West Brom in 2012/13. He was an 80th-minute substitute for Shane Long in a 1-2 loss for the European champions at the Hawthorns, then came on as the Blues won 1-0 at the Bridge. Antonsson (who hit the vital winner at Besiktas) was in the Leeds side beaten 1-0 by non-League Sutton in the 2016/17 FA Cup. Young defender Anel Ahmedhodzic was an unused sub for Nottingham Forest at the Bridge last month in the same competition.

• Malmo play with organisation, aggression and intensity, but four of their regulars would miss the second leg in London if cautioned tonight: Fouad Bachirou, Rasmus Bengtsson, Sören Rieks and Andreas Vindheim.

 

Maurizio Sarri's pre-match quotes

‘It’s not easy to play tomorrow after a 6-0 but we have to play and we have to play well if we want to win. We know that it will be not very easy because we have to play against a very good team, they are compact, solid and usually have a very good defensive phase.

‘We want to win and want to react immediately.’

City boss Uwe Rosler's pre-match quotes

‘It will be very, very difficult but tomorrow at home the stadium will be cooking. Everybody in town has been talking for six weeks about this game. They will be behind us. If we want to give ourselves a chance, then it's tomorrow.

‘We have a plan. With a bit of luck and some outstanding performances, we have an outside chance of getting a result.’


Man in the Middle

Referee: Aleksei Kulbakov

Thirty-nine-year-old Kulbakov, his assistants and additional assistants, are all from Bulgaria. This is the first time he will have officiated a game involving either of tonight’s teams.
 

Minute's silence

In common with all all Champions League and Europa League matches this week, a minute's silence will be observed tonight in memory of Emiliano Sala.

Having concluded a transfer from Nantes to Cardiff City, the 28-year-old forward was killed when the plane he was travelling in along with pilot David Ibbotson crashed into the English Channel on 21 January. Sala's body was formally identified on 7 February. Ibbotson has yet to be found.
 

Matchday weather outlook

Cold rather than freezing in southern Sweden, with mist around.

 

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