Chelsea and Manchester City were both below par in their most recent games, and will be looking to improve in Thursday's crucial Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea only managed a 1-1 draw away against struggling Nottingham Forest on New Year's Day, another disappointing result for Graham Potter's team, who are now even further away from the Champions League spots, while even qualification to next season's Europa League is looking uncertain.
The London club find themselves in something of a transitional season after many changes in personnel, but the drop off in form is still greater than anticipated.
They have picked up just four points from their last five games and go into this huge game in tenth place, ten points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester United.
Graham Potter was impressive at Brighton and had a reasonable start at Stamford Bridge, but recent results have already brought him under a lot of pressure, and fans and pundits alike are beginning to question if he is the right man to bring Chelsea back to former glories.
Potter's position appears safe enough for the time being, as he was brought in to build a long-term project, although any slide further down the table could change things rapidly.
Haaland 21 Chelsea 20
Goals have been hard to come by for the Blues, who have scored at least ten goals fewer than any other team in top half of the Premier League, with the exception of Manchester United, who have scored seven more.
Indeed, Erling Haaland's astounding 21-goal tally for Manchester City is one more than the entire Chelsea team has managed across the same 16-game period.
Despite Arsenal's resurgence, Manchester City are still seen by many as favourites to win the title, but they find themselves on uncertain ground after their surprising 1-1 draw against Everton at the Etihad on New Year's Eve.
They are now eight points behind league leaders Arsenal going into this game, and even though there is still a lot of football to be played, it appears as though they will need the Gunners to make a few mistakes along the way.
Since the World Cup break, the Citizens are undefeated in three games, including a 3-2 EFL Cup win against Liverpool, but the draw with Everton was a reminder that the team is struggling to reach the the level they were playing at earlier in the campaign, peaking with October's 6-3 demolition of Manchester United.
Pep Guardiola has not fielded his best starting eleven since the break, opting to rest those who played in the latter stages of the World Cup, but players like Phil Foden, Juan Cancelo and Julian Alvarez are sure to be in contention for a starting spot soon.
Nevertheless, the Catalan manager has a team that is built for big games, and the visit to Chelsea should prove that.
So far this season the defending champions have suffered only one away defeat, 0-1 at Liverpool, while also being held to draws at Newcastle (3-3) and Aston Villa (1-1).
City won the last three head-to-head games against Chelsea, winning both of last season's Premier League meetings by the same narrow 1-0 scoreline, and adding a 2-0 success in this season's EFL Cup clash at the Etihad.
A few more interesting stats:
- Just one of their last six encounters produced more than two goals
- Chelsea scored only three goals in their last six games, all of which produced under 2.5 goals
- Only the top three have conceded fewer than Chelsea's 18 goals this season
- City are averaging less than two goals away from home this season (1.85 goals per game)