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Rafael Benitez will be looking for his men to establish a healthy first leg advantage but Willie Duncan thinks that the Romanian league leaders can make life tough for the Blues

Chelsea continue their Europa League campaign when they travel to Romania to face Steaua Bucharest on Thursday night.

Eden Hazard’s stoppage-time goal against Sparta Prague at Stamford Bridge in the last round ensured that the Blues would progress to the last 16. Rafael Benitez’s side are rated as a 5/6 (1.83) chance with Coral to seize the initiative in this tie by claiming a first leg victory over the Romanian league leaders.

The hosts, though, will come into this match full of confidence having overturned a 2-0 first leg deficit against Ajax in the last round before knocking out the Dutch side on penalties.

As a result, as case could be made that Laurentiu Reghecampf’s men appear to represent good value at 16/5 (4.20) with Coral to take a first leg advantage into next week’s return leg at Stamford Bridge. The draw is priced up at 13/5 (3.60) with the same firm.

Steaua boast an impressive domestic record so far this term, having won 17 of their 21 league matches while it should be noted that the hosts have won all 11 of their home league matches this term, with just four goals conceded.

Furthermore, Rafael Benitez’s side may be somewhat distracted by the prospect of a crunch FA Cup tie against Manchester United to be played fewer than 72 hours after this tie and, with that tie in mind, the former Liverpool boss may be tempted to shuffle his pack here.

For those who share the opinion this could be a weakened Chelsea team, the 19/20 (1.95) quote for the Romanians in Coral’s double chance market is appealing here while the same firm offer a tempting 7/4 (2.75) for the hosts in the draw no bet market.

Both sides carry plenty of firepower with Steaua having scored 50 goals in just 21 league matches this term while only Manchester United have outscored the Blues in the Premier League this term so the 10/11 (1.91) quote from Coral for both teams to score looks to be a solid selection here.

Those seeking bigger prices may be tempted to take a chance on Coral’s first scorer market.

The west London club’s top scorer this term, Juan Mata, looks to represent excellent value at a juicy 6/1 (7.0) with Coral to add to his impressive tally of 17 for the season so far with the opening goal of the game when the Blues line up in Bucharest on Thursday.

BET
OF THE
DAY
BEST BET
VALUE BET
Both teams to score at 10/11 (1.91) with Coral Juan Mata to score first at 6/1 (7.0) with Coral

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Willie Duncan is a freelance sports journalist. Willie, from Edinburgh, has covered Scottish football for over 10 years and he specialises in football betting markets from across Europe. You can also follow Willie on Twitter

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