6th March 2013, 5:53pm
Steaua Bucharest vs Chelsea Betting: Romanians can pile more misery on Rafael Benitez in last 16 first leg
Chelsea edged past Sparta Prague in the last round of the Europa League and they head to Romania on Thursday night for the first leg of their last 16 tie with Steaua Bucharest knowing they will need to perform better over these two legs if they are to go through to the quarter finals. Steaua sent Ajax packing in the last round of the Europa League so although Chelsea are the 21/20 favourites with Bet365, the Romanians will be confident.
Steaua Bucharest were written off prior to their tie with Ajax in the last round but they seem to relish the underdog tag and I’m sure that will be no different here. Apart from forward Stefan Nikolic, the Romanians have no injury concerns so they will have a full squad to choose from for this first leg. Mihai Costea is likely to be the biggest threat to Chelsea.
Chelsea go into this tie under a fair bit of pressure. Not only are they largely expected to win this match but all isn’t completely at ease with them anyway as highlighted by Rafa’s rant last week. Chelsea will be without the cup-tied Demba Ba for this match while Victor Moses and Ramires were left back in London and with an FA Cup quarter final with Manchester United on Sunday it may well be that Benitez rests a couple more for this match.
Steaua Bucharest look a decent price to me here. Romania is never the easiest place to go to when you are on song but Chelsea aren’t flowing fully at the minute and if they decide to rest a couple of players then that only exaggerates that. Bucharest saw off a decent Ajax side in the last round and I see no reason why they can’t get a lead to take to London with them.
Back Steaua Bucharest to beat Chelsea for a 3/10 stake at 4.33 with Stan James