Benitez expected to guide Chelsea to third in Premier League

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Chelsea are just 5/1 to win the Premier League under the interim guidance of Rafa Benitez, but he is not expected to improve on the current position the club has been left in by Roberto Di Matteo.

6/5 is the price that Chelsea finish third under Benitez and their lack of options in attack, alongside a shaky defence without John Terry, will make it more difficult to overhaul Manchester City and Manchester United.

A lot of talk has revolved around whether the chief reason for Benitez’ appointment is to try to help Fernando Torres rediscover his glory days, with the club refusing to accept their £50m investment as a waste.

One way to boost confidence in the Spanish striker could be to make him captain at Stamford Bridge and it is 5/1 that he skippers the side in Benitez’ first Premier League game in charge, which is expected to be this weekend against Manchester City.

With Terry and Frank Lampard both out injured at present, making Torres captain is not beyond the realms of possibility, as Petr Cech is not the most obvious of leaders.

If Benitez can get Torres scoring again, 3/1 is a solid price that Chelsea finish second this season and it should be remembered that they are only four points off the top after 12 games.

It is 11/10 that Benitez guides Chelsea to a trophy this season and this is something that has been achieved by fellow short-term bosses Di Matteo and Guus Hiddink in Roman Abramovich’s time at the club.

Chelsea would be contenders in the Europa League if they are eliminated from the Champions League, while they are still on for the domestic treble.

The fact that the two Manchester clubs are out of the Capital One Cup hands them an especially good opportunity in this competition.

If Benitez does enjoy a successful league campaign and win a trophy, while Chelsea fail in their obvious plan to appoint Pep Guardiola in the summer, he can be backed at 5/2 to be in charge for the first fixture of the 2013/14 campaign.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.