Profligacy of Chelsea attack doesn't matter in win at Malmo, but against sterner opposition, it might

MALMO, Sweden -- Chelsea's tendency to share goals around is a remarkable trait. It is helping Thomas Tuchel deal with the loss his principal forwards. But nights like these would be easier if Kai Havertz could come along more often. This season, the Blues have 17 different scorers -- Manchester City is next in England with 15, Liverpool has 10, and Arsenal has 10. Yet, no one player has scored more than four goals.
Tuchel's Tuesday win in Malmo of 1-0 ensures Chelsea continues to progress nicely this season, even though they only occasionally find fluidity in attack. This problem is exacerbated by the injury to Romelu Lukaku or Timo Werner, who are primary strikers.

Havertz took over the offensive, but the Blues have now scored 12 goals in four matches since Werner and Lukaku left in the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge. Only one of those was a header from the corner by Havertz in a Carabao Cup fourth round tie against Southampton, in which Chelsea still needed penalties to reach the quarterfinals.

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Because of the creativity and guile he displays in this position, Havertz isn't a player who is judged solely on his goals. Hakim Ziyech's 56th minute winner was his first goal since August. Callum Hudson-Odoi and Havertz exchanged passes, and Havertz released Ziyech, an England international. Ziyech converted from close range at the far goal, breaking the home team's resistance, if not their support.

This is exactly the kind of link-up play Havertz could offer as a false nine. But the trade-off for profligacy was evident in the things that followed. The German international has only scored three goals since scoring the goal against Manchester City in the Champions League final last May. But he should have done more here.

In the first half, Malmo used their tight pitch to their advantage to defend their box and create space in central areas with a five man defence. Chelsea relied on Ruben LoftusCheek's quality to win and to open their opponent's eyes.

Loftus-Cheek, who had a nervous start, quickly settled down in midfield and released Havertz after just 29 minutes. The Malmo goalkeeper Johan Dahlin was able to make a block and narrow the angle for Loftus-Cheek, but he delayed his attempt.

With 12 minutes left, the same combination could have saved the game. Loftus-Cheek tried to play Havertz in, but he couldn't beat Dahlin from close range.

Tuchel said, "Unfortunately, Havertz missed a few chances] because I believe he deserves [to score]." "Very intense against and off the ball, bringing a lot of effort, doing a lot more runs when we have it. He is a great player. It is evident in his fight for the team and how much he puts forth.

He is unlucky at the moment. He was awarded a penalty at Newcastle. He only had one or two chances today to score. He would have the best scenario, but it wouldn't be the worst. However, I was very pleased with his performance and the quality of his games in the last games.

Kai Havertz performed brilliantly in his link-up play but was not able to score a goal this season. This was the 12th consecutive appearance of Kai Havertz in this league. JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images

Another occasion in which Tuchel was enthralled by travelling supporters was when he switched the flanks of Ziyech, Hudson-Odoi, who were operating at half time. They combined their efforts to score the goal within 11 minutes.

It was a necessary, but not surprising win for Chelsea in Group H. September's defeat by Juventus had put them on the back foot. However, it was more difficult than needed. Chelsea won the ball. They had 66% possession and completed 743 passes. This was despite trying to find openings that they could not take. 22 shots resulted in 10 goals, but Dahlin shouldn't have been allowed to save as many as he did.

Tuchel stated, "We wanted the outcome, we needed it, we expected the result and we delivered." "We had many shots and touched in the opponent's side in the first half, but we weren't clinical enough to score.

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"We tried to raise the intensity level in the second-half to force a goal. Then in the first half's highest pressure, we were able use this moment with precision to score.

The final act of the game could not have been more fitting. Christian Pulisic made his final appearance for the club for 16 minutes. He was playing through the middle, as Chelsea tried to end the game.

The United States international bent his run towards the goal as he was deep into stoppage-time. He turned his right-footed shot towards Dahlin, but he was off-balance and fell to the ground. Pulisic was flagged offside, so it didn’t matter.

It might happen one day.