Chelsea were dumped out of the Champions League on Wednesday for the second season running by Paris Saint-Germain. Now they travel to Goodison Park to face Everton in the FA Cup knowing their season rests on the outcome of the game.
Lose on Saturday and Chelsea will be faced with the weekly grind of attempting to salvage something in what remains of the Premier League season. Sitting 10th and 10 points off the top four, it's unlikely that's going to happen.
So everything comes down to this, with the Blues needing a victory to ensure their campaign maintains some sense of life.
There are some big questions surrounding the Blues going into this tie, though, with the form and future of Eden Hazard being put under the spotlight again on Friday.
Guus Hiddink was forced into defending the Chelsea attacker in his press conference when Hazard's commitment to the Blues was questioned by journalists.
Hazard has been below par all season, but Hiddink believes he is close to rediscovering his best as he continues to recover from injury.
"When [players] have too much repetition of high intensity work, there is a zone where they are coming into fatigue," said the manager, explaining why Hazard hasn't been able to be at his best.
"When you go into that zone, the risk of injury is higher. We’ve experienced it with Pedro, he was suffering a bit with fatigue and had some problems. Eden also had that problem a few weeks ago when he was coming back from his injury, but now the risk isn’t as big anymore, which suggests he can work on.
"Now the point is how we do that going forward for a period of time, starting or not starting [matches]."
With a fit and in-form Hazard, Chelsea's predicament would be much different to where they find themselves now. The campaign has been a massive failure, with the Blues surrendering their Premier League title and also exiting the Champions League prematurely.
It's where the frustration has come from on the terraces as Chelsea should be producing much more than they have been.
If they can overcome Everton on Saturday, it means a trip to Wembley for the FA Cup semi-final. No other club has won the competition more times than Chelsea since it returned to the national stadium in 2007, so will this be their year once more?
Saturday will go a long way to determining that.
Date: Saturday, March 12
Time: 5.30 p.m. GMT/12.30 p.m. ET
Venue: Goodison Park, Liverpool
TV Info: BBC1 (UK only)/Fox Sports 2 (U.S. only)
Live Stream: BBC iPlayer (UK only)/Fox Soccer2Go (U.S. only)
Last 5 Games
|Feb. 6||Stoke City 0-3 Everton|
|Feb. 13||Everton 0-1 West Bromwich Albion|
|Feb. 20||Bournemouth 0-2 Everton|
|Mar. 1||Aston Villa 1-3 Everton|
|Mar. 5||Everton 2-3 West Ham United|
|Feb. 21||Chelsea 5-1 Manchester City|
|Feb. 27||Southampton 1-2 Chelsea|
|Mar. 1||Norwich City 1-2 Chelsea|
|Mar. 5||Chelsea 1-1 Stoke City|
|Mar. 9||Chelsea 1-2 Paris Saint-Germain|
John Terry will travel with Chelsea to Goodison Park on Saturday, although doubts still remain over his fitness as the Blues captain has been missing for three weeks due to a hamstring strain.
Diego Costa and Eden Hazard are also doubts after they limped out of the midweek loss to Paris Saint-Germain. A late decision is expected to be made on Costa, but if he misses out, Bertrand Traore is expected to lead the attack.
As for Everton, Aaron Lennon (hamstring) and Brian Oviedo (illness) may not make the game, but Kevin Mirallas is definitely out as he serves a suspension.
Everton (3-4-2-1): Robles; Stones, Jagielka, Funes Mori; Coleman, McCarthy, Barry, Baines; Barkley, Deulofeu; Lukaku
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic, Rahman; Mikel, Matic; Willian, Fabregas, Pedro; Diego Costa
Romelu Lukaku has bullied defences this season but strangely not Chelsea's. Whether it's been the weight of expectation against his former club or just facing John Terry, the Belgian hasn't been his impressive self on the two occasions these sides have met.
That must change on Saturday if Everton are going to progress to the semi-final. There are talented players throughout this squad, but it's Lukaku who is the goalscorer and he needs to show up.
Even if Terry's in the starting lineup, after three weeks out injured, he isn't going to be as match sharp as he would like. Lukaku needs to make the most of that and ruffle what is a fragile back line.
He has scored an impressive 23 goals this season and spearheads the Everton attack. That must continue on Saturday.
John Obi Mikel
When Chelsea travelled to Goodison Park way back in September, it was their soft underbelly in midfield that Everton did well to exploit. Chelsea were convincingly beaten that day, and this time out they must combat what has been a problem area for them at times this term.
John Obi Mikel's performances have helped in that regard since Hiddink's appointment in December. Chelsea still have their problems there, though, and—given the importance of this game—can't allow Everton to repeat their past success.
With the likes of Ross Barkley playing through central areas, Chelsea must cut off the supply lines to Lukaku and protect their back four.
If they fail in that regard, it's going to be a very long evening on Merseyside.
Everton 2-1 Chelsea
Home Win: 17/10
Away Win: 15/8
First Goalscorer: Romelu Lukaku (5/1)
*Odds via Oddschecker
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!