Chelsea returned to winning ways as the Blues defeated Malmo 2-1 away from home in the round of 32 Europa League clash.
Goals from Ross Barkley and Olivier Giroud put Chelsea in the driving seat ahead of next week’s second leg at Stamford Bridge. With Chelsea dominating the game and missing lots of chances, Malmo ensured the game had a nervy ending as Anders Christiansen slotted home in the 80th minute – a goal that’ll give the Swedish side hope ahead of next week’s encounter.
Malmo fans made the atmosphere hostile for Chelsea and were vociferous especially in the first-half and towards the end of the game when Malmo scored, but Maurizio Sarri will be pleased his side got the crucial away victory.
See some interesting stats below:
1. Following the win against Malmo, Chelsea are yet to lose a game in the Europa League this season. The Blues have won all games, but for a 2-2 draw away at MOL Vidi in December. The Blues have conceded only four times in the Europa League this season, as Chelsea have crushed opponents with ease.
2. Following the win against Malmo, Chelsea have now won the first leg of a European knockout tie for the first time since April 2013 against Basel in the Europa League (2-1). They were winless in six such matches prior to this victory (D3, L3).
3. Chelsea have been poor in keeping clean sheets away from home, and following the 2-1 win at Malmo, the Blues have kept just one clean sheet in their past 11 away games in all competitions – they had kept seven clean sheets in the 11 games prior to this run.
4. Olivier Giroud scored the second goal against Malmo, and is the first Chelsea player to score in four successive games in European competition since Victor Moses in May 2013. He currently has five goals in six Europa League games this season.
5. Chelsea have struggled to score away from home in recent months, and Barkley’s goal against Malmo marked Chelsea’s first away goal in all competitions in 2019.
Sarri who cast a dejected figure after the 6-0 defeat to Manchester City was very impressed with the team’s performance against Malmo.
He said: “I am happy because we played with confidence and it wasn’t really very easy after the last match. We conceded on a mistake and that can happen but the level of attention was really very good for 90 minutes so I am very happy.
“But we know we have to gain the qualification in the next match. I think I am always confident but sometimes we had the wrong approach with matches so we need to be careful in every match.”