Chelsea host Shakhtar Donetsk in the Championship League, hoping to gain vengeance for their deserved 2-1 defeat in Ukraine.
The Champions League holders are second in Group E at the half-way mark, although a win would return them to the group stage summit, currently priced at evens.
While it is far to easy to get carried away when things are going well – and to get too negative when things aren’t – it does seem evident that Chelsea could use a hearty victory.
It was in the Donbass Arena two weeks ago when Roberto Di Matteo’s side’s six-game win streak can to an abrupt end, and ever since then the team have been slightly off colour.
The controversial 3-2 loss at home to Manchester United followed, where the West London club accused referee Mark Clattenburg of making racial comments.
Clattenburg had been the ire of everything blue in the second half of that game as he sent of Fernando Torres for a dive that never was before allowing an offside Javier Hernandez winner to stand.
In the aftermath of their defeat, Chelsea made a formal complaint to the FA about Clattenburg, alleging he called midfielder Mikel a ‘monkey’, and initially that he labeled Juan Mata ‘a Spanish t**t’.
Results from the investigations into that case are yet to have been published, but it is a huge accusation to level at a referee and has drawn criticism from a number of eminent managers.
The Blues’ next game was a repeat with Man United, this time in the League Cup and the home side needed a stoppage time penalty to take the match to extra time against Fergie’s second string.
Chelsea did earn revenge of sorts in that match by triumphing 5-4 after 120 minutes, although the gulf in quality between the two side’s line-ups suggest it should not have required quite such effort.
And in their latest outing the Premier League leaders relinquished their hold on the division’s top spot after they could only manage a 1-1 draw at Swansea, with United inevitably taking their position at the top.
Two defeats and a draw from four games is not the sort of spell to worry any manager, even one such as Di Matteo under the influence of Roman Abramovich’s trigger finger.
However, the bad feeling and anger swirling around the Stamford Bridge club needs to be nipped in the bud before it converts into something more serious.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.