Chelsea

Malmö 0-1 Chelsea: Player ratings as Blues labour to narrow win

Krishan Davis
Chelsea made hard work of things in Sweden
Chelsea made hard work of things in Sweden / JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/GettyImages
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Chelsea laboured to a 1-0 victory over Malmö in Champions League Group H on Tuesday night in southern Sweden.

It was a frustrating first half of attack versus defence that yielded just one clear-cut opportunity for the visitors. Ruben Loftus-Cheek slipped Kai Havertz through just before the half-hour mark but the false nine delayed a shot, allowing a defender to apply some pressure and his effort was smothered by the goalkeeper.

Hakim Ziyech and Loftus-Cheek spurned half-chances and Andreas Christensen saw a long-range drive saved at the second attempt by Johan Dahlin before Malmö almost delivered a hammer blow in first-half stoppage time, with Antonio-Mirko Colak volleying just wide of Edouard Mendy's far post following smart work by Sergio Peña from a drop ball.

Loftus-Cheek engineered a chance for himself ten minutes after the break, showing great strength and smart footwork before getting a shot away, but Dahlin blocked.

Two minutes later Chelsea got the all-important goal, with Callum Hudson-Odoi combining with Havertz before running clear and laying the ball on a plate for Ziyech, who finished fist time into the empty net.

Thiago Silva saw a header cleared off the line before Havertz wasted another one-v-one late one after more excellent work from Loftus-Cheek, but one goal proved enough.

The Blues stay second in Group H on nine points, and leaders Juventus have a game in hand.

Here's how the Chelsea players rated...


CHELSEA PLAYER RATINGS

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Antonio Ruediger
It was a stress-free night for Chelsea's defenders / David Lidstrom/GettyImages

Edouard Mendy (GK) - 7/10 - Literally nothing to do all game long, but commanded his box.

Andreas Christensen (CB) - 8/10 -
Hammered a shot from range and the keeper spilled, but the follow-up couldn't be forced home. Smooth on the ball and did his job well. Won five ground duels, five aerial duels and made four ball recoveries.

Thiago Silva (CB) - 7/10 -
Marshalled the central areas well and stayed focused with not much work to do. Saw a header cleared off the line once the Blues were ahead. Booked.

Antonio Rüdiger (CB) - 7/10 -
Engaged in some physical battles, but generally a pretty comfortable night.


2. Wing-backs & midfielders

FBL-EUR-C1-MALMO-CHELSEA
It was a typical Ruben Loftus-Cheek performance / JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/GettyImages

Cesar Azpilicueta (RWB) - 6/10 - Almost rounded off a fine team move, but his weak shot was shovelled wide. Sloppy in possession and just started to look his age at times.

Jorginho (CM) - 7/10 - Sprung Chelsea's best attack of the first half with a simple but oh-so-effective ten-yard pass. Kept things ticking over and barely wasted a pass, as ever.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek (CM) - 8/10 - Lovely piece of skill to flick the ball over an opponent's head before spraying a volleyed pass. Brilliant strength and footwork before working the keeper after the break. Used his body wonderfully again before scooping a ball into Havertz late on, but the German wasted the chance again.

Marcos Alonso (LWB) - 6/10 - Cut a frustrated figure as he tried to get forward in the first period. Not really involved after the break.


3. Forwards

Hakim Ziyech
Ziyech bagged the key goal / David Lidstrom/GettyImages

Hakim Ziyech (RF) - 7/10 - Floated around dangerously early on, seeing a half-chance smothered from the angle. Brilliant ball juggling created a chance for himself, but shot was saved. Deserved his goal, tapping home from Hudson-Odoi's low cross. Subbed.

Kai Havertz (CF) - 7/10 - Busy in the opening exchanges and had a couple of penalty shouts, but passed up a presentable opportunity. Good work in the build-up to the opener, playing the false nine role to perfection. Wasted another one-on-one late on.

Callum Hudson-Odoi (LF) - 7/10 - Got into some dangerous positions in the first half but seemed to choose the safe pass. Cute one-two before blasting clear and laying it on a plate for Ziyech. Subbed.


4. Substitutes

Ross Barkley (RF) - 6/10 - Busy cameo

Christian Pulisic (LF) - N/A


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