However, there are bound to be some Chelsea supporters who make the trip east and continue to voice their discontent with a manager who has the lowest win ratio of any manager under Roman Abramovich.
Granted, the Spaniard has had little time to make an impact with the west London club and they are actually favourites to win this season’s Europa League after claiming a triumph in Europe’s premier competition last term.
On paper, it appears to be a favourable last-sixteen draw for Chelsea who are even money with BetVictor to win on Thursday as they did in Prague recently. Benitez was pleased with his team’s performance as they beat West Brom on Saturday although there will surely be changes ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup clash at Old Trafford.
Gary Cahill, John Terry, Jon Obi Mikel, Fernando Torres and Victor Moses could be among those players who return to the team as the Blues illustrate their squad depth compared to other teams in Europe, although perhaps a draw at 13/5 with Coral offers better value than the away win.
That result would still leave Chelsea confident of finishing the job at the Bridge, with Steaua Bucharest not a team to strike fear into opponents’ hearts, even if they went through the last round at the expense of Ajax.
The Romanian champions are way clear of their nearest rivals in Bucharest’s domestic league and can fully concentrate on tackling their illustrious opponents, with the team boasting a 100% record against other teams in their league this term.
The home win is a 3/1 chance and Steaua certainly will be looking to take advantage of any squad rotation in the visitors’ ranks, although it’s probable that the Europa League is now easier to win for Chelsea considering they are away to Manchester United in the FA Cup this weekend.
Raul Rusescu has scored three times in this competition already this season and can be backed at 8/1 to make a name for himself by scoring against English opposition, while that man Torres might prove to be a match winner for his team. We should note that Demba Ba is cup-tied after previously appearing for Newcastle.