Maurizio Sarri will swiftly want to switch his attention to the Europa League after the mauling Chelsea suffered at Manchester City last weekend.
A trip to Sweden to face the country’s most celebrated club, Malmo, who have secured their respective league title a record 20 times, awaits.
Premier League stuttering aside, the Blues have bettered almost all on their European escapade with five wins and a draw in the Europa League this term. By no means can this underestimate their hosts; Malmo lost only once during the group stages.
Upon their clash at the ‘Stadion’, we have devised a combined team based on the Europa League’s match rating statistics of Chelsea’s and Malmo’s players, courtesy of WhoScored.com.
Goalkeeper: Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea) 6.70
There is no rest for the wicked, especially in the case of Chelsea’s young shot-stopper. Kepa Arrizabalaga has been between the sticks in five of the six group stage fixtures, having already amounted 28 games in domestic competitions this season.
He has kept all four of the club’s Europa League clean sheets this campaign having only made six saves in total, this smallest amount from ‘keepers with five appearances.
Right-back: Davide Zappacosta (Chelsea) 7.13
Davide Zappacosta may have returned just in time to continue his European journey, having been first choice right-back throughout.
His addition has been invaluable; no full-back has attempted a great number of shots than the Italian (10) whilst only two players have dribbled past the defender.
Centre-back: Rasmus Bengtsson (Malmo) 7.12
As Rasmus Bengtsson began his career with his boyhood club, it seemed a match made in Malmo heaven that he took them into the knockout phase.
He is yet to miss a start in their adventures since the qualifying rounds and only three central defenders have completed more tackles than the sizeable Swede (15).
Centre-back: Lasse Nielsen (Malmo) 7.16
Aside Bengtsson is another seasoned campaigner, Lasse Nielsen. Both have built a Swedish brick wall by maintaining an untouched goal in half of their games together thus far.
The great Dane is joint-third amongst centre-halves for aerial duels won (30), equally, fifth for interceptions (15).
Left-back: Emerson (Chelsea) 7.57
Following promising performances during the tournament, albeit against weaker opposition, has briefly emerged Emerson into the league fold once again.
This for his attacking ability rather than going the other way, only Joakim Maehle of Genk has completed more successful dribbles (15) than Emerson (14) from full-back.
Right-midfield: Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea) 7.65
After battling off Bayern Munich, for now, Callum Hudson-Odoi’s objective should be continuing his development by delivering on the European stage.
After a goal and assist, he leads the statistics table for wingers to have started twice: highest successful dribbles (12), total shots (eight) and short key passes (seven).
Centre-midfield: Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea) 7.12
Life in London has yet to reach the levels of elevation for Mateo Kovacic since arriving from Real Madrid, yet Sarri still installs faith in the midfielder.
Out of those who have begun in the starting line up on two occasions from central-midfield, Kovacic is only behind fellow teammate Jorginho (189) for attempted passes (171). From the same pool of players, the Croatian is top for total dribbles (nine).
Centre-midfield: Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea) 7.65
Rumbles about Ruben Loftus-Cheek gaining more game time at Chelsea began after accomplishing his first senior hat-trick against BATE Borisov.
Upon looking at the young man statistics, you can understand why; no central midfielder has attempted more dribbles (33), whilst being the second top goalscorer behind Sevilla’s Ever Banega (4) in the same position.
Left-midfield: Pedro (Chelsea) 7.15
Already in ownership of three Champions League winner medals, Pedro will aim to tick off another piece of prodigious silverware from his already impressive list.
He sits joint-third for key passes for wingers (13), also tied fifth for shots inside the penalty area (seven) from his fellow forwards out wide.
Attacking-midfield: Willian (Chelsea) 7.64
One figure who rarely misses a beat, or a game, is the boy from Brazil. Willian has been included amongst all of Chelsea’s ties up to this stage, with a sparkling effect.
The Blues’ number 22 is bettered only by Michal Travnik of Jablonec for key passes, Willian’s 19 to Travnik’s 23. Having only been dispossessed on four occasions, his favela footballing trickery has not been tarnished.
Striker: Olivier Giroud (Chelsea) 7.28
Four goals to the good, yet Olivier Giroud may miss his golden chance for a start since the arrival of Gonzalo Higuain.
The French forward is still the joint-third highest marksmen in the competition, 10 of his shots coming from inside the penalty area.
By Nathaniel Kay