Following the jarring defeat at Stoke and in the middle of a congested schedule across several competitions, Jose Mourinho has promised several personnel changes for tonight's encounter with Steaua Bucharest.
The Blues comfortably won 4-0 away to the Romanians, who will be without their experienced skipper Alexandru Bourceanu because of suspension. The influential defensive midfielder has played every minute up to now and even with him present Steaua were unable to press Chelsea's attacking midfielders and often found themselves stretched to breaking point at the back.
Bourceanu's central midfield partner in that match, Lucian Filip, suffered a broken leg a few weeks ago and will also miss out.
With qualification for the first knockout round of the Champions League already secured, Mourinho can rest two or three regular starters ahead of Saturday's visit of Crystal Palace and the Capital One Cup trip to Sunderland four days later.
Any changes will not reduce the quality of the side by much - just ask Arsene Wenger, whose team were beaten 2-0 on home soil in the Capital One Cup by a supposed 'second string' from west London.
Definitely returning is left-back Ashley Cole, prevented from playing since 2 November, first by a rib injury then the form of Cesar Azpilicueta, who may revert to his more familiar post at right-back. Branislav Ivanovic, the only outfield to have started every Premier League and Champions League game to date, could sit this one out.
Frank Lampard and Petr Cech have also been involved in all 20 matches of the two competitions, with John Terry and Ramires absent for just one European outing and Eden Hazard and Oscar not far behind.
Oscar and his compatriot David Luiz, absent for the same period as Cole, have returned to training and could well figure against the Liga 1 leaders who go into the game knowing they will finish last in Group E.
Andre Schurrle is a doubt as he was taken off at the Britannia Stadium at the weekend with a knock. Chelsea's pace and quality in attack was difficult for Steaua to handle back in October and the German played a key role.
Head coach Laurențiu Reghecampf bemoaned the naivety of his side, who conceded two goals in each half. Their right-back Daniel Georgievski in particular endured a torrid evening against Schurrle, capping his display with an own goal before being subbed. He has recently made way for Andrei Prepeliţă, usually a midfielder.
Chelsea have conceded seven shots on target in our last three games against Southampton, Sunderland and Stoke - all have been goals
The Blues have topped our group in eight of our 11 Champions League campaigns. In 1999/2000 there were two group stages where we were runners-up in the second one. Last season was the first time we failed to progress to the knockout stage.
The Blues have a 71 per cent win record in home group Champions League games.
We have lost only three of our last 38 home Champions League matches (including 27 victories) since 2006.
Only Bayern Munich have conceded fewer than Chelsea's three in five group matches this term.
|Chelsea's home record against Romanian teams|
|2008/09||CFR Cluj||W 2-1||Champions League group stage|
|2012/13||Steaua Bucharest||W 3-1||Europa League round of 16 first leg|
Chelsea's last 10 years in Europe
2003/04 - Champions League - semi-final
2004/05 - Champions League - semi-final
2005/06 - Champions League - round of 16
2006/07 - Champions League - semi-final
2007/08 - Champions League - runners-up
2008/09 - Champions League - semi-final
2009/10 - Champions League - round of 16
2010/11 - Champions League - quarter-final
2011/12 - Champions League - winners
2012/13 - Europa League - winners, having transferred from the Champions League group stage
|Last six results|
|Nov 9||West Brom (h)||D 2-2|
|Nov 23||West Ham (a)||W 3-0|
|Nov 26||Basel (Champions League a)||L 0-1|
|Dec 1||Southampton (h)||W 3-1|
|Dec 4||Sunderland (a)||W 4-3|
|Dec 7||Stoke (a)||L 2-3|
European games since
A home win: 0
A home draw: 5
A home defeat: 1
|Chelsea's next three games|
|Sat 14 Dec||Crystal Palace home||3.00pm|
|Tue 17 Dec||Sunderland (Capital One Cup) away||7.45pm|
|Mon 23 Dec||Arsenal away||8.00pm|
If selected, Branislav Ivanovic will make his 50th European appearance for Chelsea.
24 Romanian league titles, last in 2013
22 Romanian Cups, last in 2011
1 European Cup in 1986
1 European Super Cup in 1986
6 Romanian Super Cups, last in 2013
Steaua Bucharest were the first East European team to win the European Cup (in 1986)
Steaua have spent all their history in the Romanian top-flight.
Last ten league seasons
2003/04 - 2nd
2004/05 - 1st
2005/06 - 1st
2006/07 - 2nd
2007/08 - 2nd
2008/09 - 6th
2009/10 - 4th
2010/11 - 5th
2011/12 - 3rd
2012/13 - 1st
Steaua won the Romanian League last season for the first time in seven years, winning 24 of their 34 matches with 79 points, a record 16 clear of runner-up Pandurii Targu Jiu.
Steaua have not won for 22 games in the Champions League proper, a run that has lasted seven years. Their failure to beat Schalke on matchday five equalled the longest Champions League run without a win set by Spartak Moscow between 2000 and 2006.
Steaua have lost only two of their 29 games this season in all competitions, winning 16. They are undefeated in 12 games in all competitions since the Chelsea defeat on 1 October. Their other reverse was at Schalke two weeks earlier.
|Steaua's away games against English teams in Europe|
|1997/98||Aston Villa||L 0-1||UEFA Cup third round first leg (agg 2-3)|
|1999/00||West Ham||D 0-0||UEFA Cup second round first leg (agg 2-0)|
|2003/04||Southampton||D 1-1||UEFA Cup first round second leg (agg 2-1)|
|2003/04||Liverpool||L 1-0||UEFA Cup second round first leg (agg 1-2)|
|2005/06||Middlesbrough||L 2-4||UEFA Cup semi-final first leg (agg 3-4)|
|2007/08||Arsenal||L 1-2||Champions League group stage|
|2010/11||Liverpool||L 1-4||Europa League group stage|
|2012/13||Chelsea||L 1-3||Europa League last 16 first leg (agg 2-3)|
Ten-year European record
2003/04 - UEFA Cup second round
2004/05 - UEFA Cup round of 16
2005/06 - UEFA Cup semi-finals having transferred from the Champions League third qualifying round
2006/07 - UEFA Cup round of 32 having transferred from the Champions League group stage
2007/08 - Champions League group stage
2008/09 - Champions League group stage
2009/10 - Europa League group stage
2010/11 - Europa League group stage
2011/12 - Europa League round of 32
2012/13 - Europa League round of 16
Champions League results Jul 16
FK Vardar (2nd qual h)
W 3-0 Jul 23
FK Vardar (2nd qual a)
W 2-1 Jul 30
Dinamo Tbilisi (3rd qual a)
W 2-0 Aug 6
Dinamo Tbilisi (3rd qual h)
D 1-1 Aug 21
Legia Warsaw (Play off h)
D 1-1 Aug 27
Legia Warsaw (Play off a) won on away goals
D 2-2 Group E
L 0-3 Oct 10
L 0-4 Oct 22
D 1-1 Nov 6
D 1-1 Nov 26
European scorers (13): Piovaccari 4, Iancu 2, Bourceanu 1, Latovlevici 1, Pintilii 1, Stanciu 1, Tanase 1, Tatu 1, own goal 1
|Last six domestic results|
|Oct 30||Poli Timisoara (Cup h)||W 2-0|
|Nov 2||Corona Brasov (a)||D 1-1|
|Nov 23||Pandurii Targu Jiu (a)||D 1-1|
|Dec 1||Petrolul Ploiesti (h)||D 1-1|
|Dec 5||Otelul Galati (Cup h)||W 2-0|
|Dec 8||Otelul Galati (a)||D 1-1|
|Liga 1 top six|
|4||Pandurii Targu Jiu||17||+17||31|
|6||Ceahlaul Piatra Neamt||17||+4||27|
THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Referee Gianluca Rocchi, his two assistants and two additional assistants are from Italy. He was in charge at the Bridge when we beat Valencia 3-0 in 2011 and Rubin Kazan were seen off 3-1 in last season's Europa League quarter-final.
Steaua captain Alexandru Bourceanu is suspended after reaching three yellow cards.
Europa League bookings list:
Players receive a one-match suspension for collecting three and five yellow cards
Steaua (11): Bourceanu 3, Piovaccari 2, Szukala 2, Cristea 1, Gardos 1, Georgievski 1, Popa 1.
Chelsea (6): Cahill 1, Cole 1, Lampard 1, Mikel 1, Ramires 1, Van