It feels like every Chelsea match is another match that could spell the end of Maurizio Sarri’s time as manager. Thursday night brings the second leg of the Europa League tie against Malmo, and Chelsea will be expected to win after a 2-1 win away in Sweden in the first leg.
Stamford Bridge, though, might not be an inviting environment for the home side. Monday’s defeat at home to Manchester United sparked outrage amongst the supporters with many being very vocal with their opinions on Maurizio Sarri.
But winning the Europa League may represent Chelsea’s best chance of getting into next season’s Champions League, and to do that, they must perform better than they have recently to maintain their advantage over Malmo.
But Chelsea do have some injury concerns after Monday’s match. Pedro has been absent from training with a stomach illness and is joined by Davide Zappacosta as those struck down by a virus.
But the more important absentee might be Kepa Arrizabalaga who injured his hamstring and is doubtful for Malmo and possibly for Sunday’s Carabao Cup final.
The real question will be what side Sarri picks against Malmo. Despite the 2-1 win in the first leg, Chelsea still looked slow and ponderous even though they dominated possession. It allowed Malmo to hang around in the match and eventually pull one back through Anders Christiansen.
With the cup final looming, it’s likely that the squad that faces Malmo on Thursday will be very similar to the one that played in the first leg. But the pressure will be on the squad players to deliver a result, or Sarri might once again be facing questions about his future in his post-match press conference and interviews.