Chelsea was thrashed 6-0 by champions Manchester City on Sunday to slip out of the Premier League top four, putting Sarri’s future at Stamford Bridge under scrutiny.
Sarri’s position is not thought to be in immediate danger ahead of their trip to Sweden, a defeat against Malmo would potentially make the Italian coach’s position untenable – particularly if his players fail to respond to his demands to execute his ‘Sarri-ball’ tactics.
Chelsea travel to Malmo for their Europa League last-32 first leg tie with head coach Maurizio Sarri set to rotate his squad.
With games against Manchester United in the FA Cup and Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final in mind.
Sarri will likely stick with his rotation policy in the Europa League by recalling a number of fringe players.
That could see a rare start for Callum Hudson-Odoi, though the 18-year-old missed a couple of training sessions with the illness last week and was not included in the squad to face City.
The 4-0 loss at Bournemouth last month was Chelsea’s worst since September 1996, until City inflicted further embarrassment on Sarri’s side, who suffered their biggest defeat in 28 years.
Malmo are unbeaten in their last eight home games in European competition – qualifiers included [W2 D6], that’s two short of their record [10 games between September 1975 and November 1979].
Team News of Malmo vs Chelsea
Marcos Alonso and Ruben Loftus-Cheek will be absent when Chelsea seek to respond from the 6-0 humiliation at Manchester City by facing Malmo in Thursday’s Europa League last-32 first leg.
Left-back Alonso, who has been manager Maurizio Sarri’s first choice, has been omitted – the Italian boss says he has been rested – with Emerson Palmieri likely to start.
Midfielder Loftus-Cheek has suffered a recurrence of his persistent back problem but could be fit to face Manchester United in Monday’s FA Cup fifth-round clash.
Marcos Alonso and Ruben Loftus-Cheek did not travel to Sweden. Loftus-Cheek has suffered a recurrence of his persistent back problem but should be fit to be in contention to face United.
Sarri said Alonso has been rested and has “no physical problem”.
Guillermo Molins is likely to miss out and both Oscar Lewicki and Franz Brorsson are doubtful, meaning they will have to be assessed ahead of Thursday’s first leg.
Malmo (3–5–2): Dahlin; Nielsen, Bengtsson, Safari; Vindheim, Christiansen, Bachirou, Lewicki, Rieks; Rosenberg, Antonsson
Chelsea (4-3-3): Kepa; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, Emerson; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic; Willian, Higuain, Hazard
Score prediction: Malmo 0-2 Chelsea
TV channel and live stream, and online coverage
The match will be televised live on BT Sport 2.
BT Sport subscribers will be able to stream the match online via the video player and the BT Sport app.
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The teams have never previously faced each other in an official Uefa competition.