The time has arrived.
Will Chelsea rise to the occasion or will the sinking ship finally hit the ocean's floor?
Chelsea travels to the Theater of Dreams on Sunday for a second v. third clash with Manchester United. This will most certainly be a season-defining fixture for the Blues -- and likely for the Red Devils as well.
Both clubs are coming off awful results in cup competitions; Chelsea a 1-1 draw with Southend in the FA Cup and United a 1-0 defeat to Derby in the league cup. With this in mind, and with so much at stake, it's clear each side will be up to the task Sunday.
A draw or win will almost certainly see United jump Chelsea into second. Of course, the Devils will have to win their game in hand, but really, will that be much of a problem? While United has struggled somewhat recently, Chelsea, on the other hand, is in dire need of anything positive. Over the past few weeks, the Blues have been about as impressive as that Frank Miller flick with Samuel L. Jackson.
Let's just say a loss Sunday could see Uncle Phil out of a job. Yeah, I think it's that bad right now. Hell, a loss might just see Roman exiting London. Hey, at least Phil realizes how important this match really is to the club.
"We need to win," Scolari said this week. "In these games if you give a chance to your opponents to advance three points it's difficult to recover afterwards. If you draw then OK, you've lost two points but your opponents have also lost two. If you lose it's difficult. Now, in our position, it's impossible to think about a draw. We're four points in front but they have two extra games to play that are not against us so it's not in our hands. If we want to arrive in the first position we have to play for a win."
Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra return for United -- major boost. Deco will likely be in Felipao's starting XI -- major downer. Ferguson will also likely be in a hissy mood following the endlessly entertaining rant by Rafa, of the scum. Sir Fergs will no doubt be keen to unleash a little fury on whomever is in the way, in this case us (shit).
Will Phil opt for a two-headed sulking centaur up front? Somehow, I doubt it. We can only hope Super Frank and Joey Cole have the gift on Sunday. Bigger news for the Blues is the return of EBJT. Back alongside his old crime-fighting sidekick Ricky Carvalho, JT will bring back the aerial prowess sorely missed over the past three matches.
Prediction: This one is a tough call. We need a win. They need a win. They're at home. We're away. With that being said, I see a 1-1 draw. Yeah, I hate it, too.
Another thing, let's hope Phil follows Rafa's advice and zonal marks Fergie & staff. It could be the smartest tactical decision he makes all season.