Premier League preview: Manchester City v Chelsea
Manchester City could soon be left to rue their bad luck, as they prepare to face a Chelsea team finally hitting form in all competitions.
City host Chelsea in the English Premier League on Wednesday, and need maximum points to prevent Manchester United from increasing their lead in the title race.
United took advantage of City's 1-0 defeat at Swansea earlier this month to move top of the table, and a 5-0 win away to Wolves on Sunday sent the defending champions four points clear.
Chelsea struggled for much of the season under former manager Andre Villas-Boas, and City would surely have fancied their chances of forcing a positive result against the west London club.
But with Villas-Boas sacked and his assistant Roberto di Matteo put in charge, Chelsea have begun to orchestrate a revival in recent weeks.
They defeated Championship club Birmingham in an FA Cup fifth-round replay, before seeing off Stoke City 1-0 in the league.
Rivals may have started to take notice when Chelsea defeated Napoli 4-1 in the Champions League round of 16, sealing a thrilling 5-4 aggregate victory to book their place in the last eight.
Now the only English club left in continental competition, Chelsea backed up that triumph with a convincing 5-2 win at home to Leicester in the FA Cup quarter-finals.
City, meanwhile, have managed just one win in their last three outings. They went down 1-0 away to Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League round of 16, followed by that surprise loss at Swansea.
On Thursday they came from 2-0 down to beat Sporting 3-2 at home, but it was not enough to prevent their exit from the competition via the away goals rule.
Looking for a spark to restore his team's vitality of earlier in the campaign, City manager Roberto Mancini may recall striker Carlos Tevez, who has ended his self-imposed exile.
Three City defenders are under injury clouds heading into the match. Key centre-back Vincent Kompany is unlikely to return from a calf problem, while fullback Pablo Zabaleta continues to struggle with a thigh strain.
Kompany's fellow central defender Joleon Lescott could be back from a groin injury, and midfielder Gareth Barry has a chance of overcoming illness to feature.
Brazil defender David Luiz (ankle) is the only fitness concern for Chelsea manager Di Matteo, who saw record-signing Fernando Torres end a 24-match goal drought by scoring twice against Leicester.