Europa League spot on offer in Sweden

Malmo with domestic distractions?

Tuesday nights hosts have had a nightmare time in Group H of the Champions League. Losing all four of their group games so far, they go into this penultimate group game knowing a win is the minimum requirement to see the qualify for the Europa League knockout stages. They're yet to score a goal in this group stage, conceding 12 goals so far, giving them a (checks notes) -12 goal difference. Despite holding Chelsea to just the 1-0 win in Sweden in the last Champions League gameweek, the Swedish champions have flat out struggled so far in European competition. 3-0, 4-0 and 4-0 are is the story of their three games before the relatively good performance against the Blues at the beginning of the month. While their Champions League form has been so poor, they're still challenging for the Swedish Allsvenskan title, sitting top of the league ahead of chasing Djurgarden and AIK. The title in Sweden looks to go down to these last two games for Malmo and AIK, and Djurgarden having three games to try and cut the two point deficit separating them from top spot Malmo. So, with one eye firmly on a league title race that's going down to the very wire domestically for Malmo, the Champions League might just be an afterthought with their fate all but sealed going into Tuesday's game. I really think Malmo will struggle to get anything more than a consolation goal (if that) from their game against a Zenit side that have been tough to beat so far.

Zenit destined for the Europa League

The Russian champions have just one win to their name from these four group games. But this certainly doesn't tell the whole story of how they've played in the Champions League. Their sole win was a 4-0 drubbing of Tuesday's opponents back in late September. Their 1-0 loss at Stamford Bridge in their opening group match could have easily seen them take a result from the current European Champions. If striker Artem Dzubya had one size larger football boots, we could have been talking about Zenit having an outside chance of qualifying for the knockout stages of this competition. However, with that now being a mathematical impossibility, focus must remain solely on securing Europa League knockout qualification on Tuesday. Their double header against group toppers Juventus wasn't as routine for the Old Lady as it perhaps may have seemed. While Juventus won both games against Zenit, scorelines of a 1-0 win in Russia and a 4-2 victory back in Turin showed that Zenit had Juventus worried for large parts of both games. Dejan Kulusevski's late header in St Petersburg left Zenit with nothing from that game, and going 1-0 up in Turin, only to see a Paulo Dybala masterclass rip them apart and turn the game around to emphatically win 4-2 was a harsh reflection on Zenit's performance on both nights. But they have a chance to go out with a bang, and I can see Sergei Semak's side taking the game to Malmo in their attempt to secure that illusive 3rd place spot in Group H.

While Tuesday's game between Malmo and Zenit isn't exactly the glamour tie of the gameweek, it could throw up an interesting result with both teams still in the running for 3rd place. However, with Malmo having their own domestic distractions, I can see Zenit winning this one comfortably. That's why I'm going with Zenit St Petersburg to win with bet365.

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