Chelsea host Sunderland at Stamford Bridge on Saturday with Andre Villas-Boas hoping to make up some ground on the top three, who are now eight points ahead of the Blues; kick-off 3pm.
Martin O’Neill’s men will be hoping they can repeat their score-line here from last year that saw them hammer Chelsea 3-0 in one of the shock results of the season.
Daniel Sturridge and John Terry have both passed fitness tests to take part in Saturday’s game but Florent Malouda is doubtful after picking up a knock against Portsmouth over the weekend in the FA Cup.
Michael Essien is set to miss another week while he recovers from a knee injury while Branislov Ivanovic and John Obi Mikel are both sidelined with hamstring injuries.
Sturridge is likely to start up front alongside Juan Mata as Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou are on international duty at the African Nations Cup.
Nicklas Bendtner is set to return for Sunderland after missing their FA Cup third round clash with Peterborough with a knee injury, and the Danish international is likely to play a part at Stamford Bridge.
Former Manchester United player Frazier Campbell will be part of the squad for the first time since August 2010 after suffering a reoccurrence of a serious knee injury, and the Sunderland striker will be looking to make his return against the Blues.
His ex-United teammate Wes Brown will miss the trip to Chelsea with a groin injury, as will Jack Colback with an ankle injury and Titus Bramble is still out with a calf/Achilles problem.
Chelsea are strong favourites to win this game at 9.4 with Betfair.com but Sunderland have dropped just five points since Martin O’Neill took over the team, including a win against Man City, and a draw looks tempting at 4.9; Click here for the latest odds between Chelsea and Sunderland from Betfair