- Reuters / Phil Noble
Manchester City play hosts to Chelsea when the west London club visits the Etihad Stadium in hopes of closing the gap on the two top teams in the Premier League.
Beleaguered Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez will look to quieten some of the intense calls for his sacking after several recent less than stellar performances, in both European and domestic competitions, left loyal fans reeling.
Chelsea looked slow and disorganized during their Europa League tie against Sparta Prague which saw them concede a first half goal as well as the possibility of crashing out of both European competitions this year, but they were saved by second half substitute Eden Hazard as he scored in stoppage time.
The Blues will have a few more options in midfield for their league tie given that midfielder Frank Lampard is well rested after being left out of the club's match with Sparta Prague and is expected to start against City on Sunday.
Defenders Ashley Cole and Branislav Ivanovic will also be available and will add a bit more security to a Chelsea back line that has been porous in recent months. Newly signed striker Demba Ba, who was prevented from playing on Thursday for being cup-tied, will look to refresh a Chelsea attack that has struggled with Fernando Torres.
For second place Manchester City their Premiership title defense will be better served with a full three points given that they are currently 15 points shy of the top spot after Manchester United beat Queens Park Rangers on Saturday at Loftus Road.
City will have to overcome the absence of captain Vincent Kompany who has been sidelined for the club's last four matches after suffering a calf injury and whose presence has been hard to replace on the pitch.
Manager Roberto Mancini, who recently declared that he is the best manager in England, will have to use his talents to field a competitive team with the likes of Gareth Barry and Micah Richards still unavailable due to injury.
Kick-off for the match is at 8:30 a.m. ET and can be watched online here.