Premier League: Chelsea v Manchester City
Sunday November 25,
Sky Sports 1 4pm
Before the mid-week Champions League fun and games at Stamford Bridge kick-started Roman Abramovich's managerial merry-go-round back into life, Chelsea had officially entered the blip period of their season, after defeat to West Brom left them without a win in four league games.
The Russian's patience exhausted by the defeat in Turin to Juventus, Roberto di Matteo was relieved of his duties at around 4am on Wednesday morning. Rafa Benitez was, of course, officially unveiled as the Blues' manager until the end of the season - the ninth man to sit in the hottest of hot seats under Abramovich – on Thursday, and will take charge of his new side for the first time here.
Chelsea's outclassing of Spurs in October - the last time they picked up all three points - seems like a lifetime ago, then, and Benitez will target a return to that form if they’re to mount a title challenge this season.
It's a baptism of fire, with the visit of the champions to Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Last weekend saw Manchester City top the league for the first time this season, courtesy of a demolition job on Aston Villa. But they haven’t beaten Chelsea at the Bridge since 2010, when the Blues had two players sent off.
Roberto Mancini will sympathise with di Matteo, having also dropped out of the Champions League after Wednesday's draw with Real Madrid and answering difficult questions about his own position in recent weeks. He will demand a response here from his side, who will look to keep up with the neighbours after Manchester United last month became the first team this season to leave Stamford Bridge victorious in the league.