The clash between log-leaders Chelsea and under-the-spotlight Manchester United will serve as the headline fixture in round 13 of the Premier League this weekend.
For more than one reason, plenty of attention will be centred on the battle at Stamford Bridge, which will conclude the weekend’s action on Sunday night.
From a log perspective, the Blues hold onto a handy three-point buffer above Man City, but The Citizens could draw level on log points if they can overcome West Ham in an earlier game on Sunday.
That will be another game of real interest, with West Ham sitting pretty in fourth place on the table, having won seven games, drawn two and lost just three so far this season.
By contrast, Man United have slipped down to eighth place after an embarrassing 4-1 defeat away to Watford last weekend, but so much has happened since then.
That loss led to the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, while just days later another excellent goal from Cristiano Ronaldo helped United claim a 2-0 victory over Villarreal to seal their place in the Champions League last 16.
It’s since emerged that 63-year-old German Ralf Rangnick is close to finalising a deal to become United’s interim manager, but he will not be in charge in time for the game at Chelsea due to work permit issues.
Instead, Michael Carrick will remain in charge: “All my energy and my mind at the moment is on Sunday. I control what I can control,” Carrick commented.
“Everything else is not for me to worry about and get involved with because I need to win a game of football and that is what I am looking forward to doing.”
Meanwhile, Liverpool will head into a home game against 13th-placed Southampton fully aware that a good win will serve as a major boost to their title campaign.
The Reds are currently four log points behind Chelsea, but they could make up some ground on Saturday, and potentially also improve their Goal Difference further if they can claim a good win.
Last weekend Liverpool hammered Arsenal 4-0, and the Gunners will now be looking to rebound with a big victory against bottom-placed, winless Newcastle on Saturday.
There will also be an opportunity for seventh-placed Tottenham Hotspur to reinvigorate their season when they travel to relegation-threatened Burnley on Sunday.