Chelsea have been one of the outstanding sides in this season’s Europa League with only two teams collecting more points in the group stages of the competition. The Blues finished the group phase firmly at the top of Group L with seven points separating them from runners-up BATE Borisov and just two points dropped from their six matches. They went into the first leg of their last-32 tie with Malmo as strong favourites and rewarded their many backers by heading home on the back of a 2-1 win in Sweden. The likelihood is that they will add to this scoreline when they welcome the Swedes back to Stamford Bridge to set themselves up with place in the last-sixteen draw.
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On the domestic front, Chelsea haven’t been quite as proficient and while they remain firmly in the top-six in the Premier League table, there have been plenty of disappointments in recent weeks – most notably their 6-0 thumping by Manchester City last weekend. Indeed the Blues have leaked ten goals and scored none in reply in their last two away games in the Premier League and they will doubtless have been happy with their performance in Sweden last time out.
Maurizio Sarri’s men have long been amongst the favourites to win this season’s Europa League and their odds have been shortening following their progression in the competition, Ladbrokes Bookmakers now going just 4/1 that the Blues win the competition outright, just ahead of second-placed FC Napoli at 9/2. Premier League rivals Arsenal are out at 6/1 with the same firm while Europa League specialists Sevilla are a 9/1 shot.