After a disappointing Champions League campaign, Manchester City will play Chelsea this weekend as they turn their focus to winning the Premier League, which, according to Nigel de Jong, has been the club's top target all along.
"It's the first year City were in the Champions League and expectations were high. But in the group expectations weren't so high because our main target was still the Premier League title."
City currently have a five-point lead over crosstown rivals Manchester United in the league table, and are 10 points up on Chelsea.
Chelsea have won their last two league games, and are clinging to a top-four spot at two points ahead of Arsenal in fifth.
A loss could end Chelsea's chances at winning the league, while a win for City would give them a tremendous confidence boost following their disappointment in Europe.
Let's look at everything you need to know about this awesome and important Premier League matchup.
Where: Stamford Bridge, London, England
Watch: ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, Sky Sports HD1
Live Stream: ESPN3.com
When: Monday, Dec. 12 at 3:00 p.m. ET
Player To Watch for Chelsea: Juan Mata
There is no question that Juan Mata has been Chelsea's player of the season thus far. His ability to set up scoring opportunities for his teammates with his brilliant passing and creativity is vital to the Blues' success.
Who will win this match?
Mata and Drogba have found a nice chemistry in recent matches, and their partnership will be key on Monday.
The Spanish winger must play well against Manchester City for Chelsea to have a chance at taking all three points from this match.
Player To Watch for Manchester City: Sergio Aguero
The Argentinian forward has 11 goals for Manchester City in the Premier League this season, which ranks second among all goal scorers.
Aguero is an enormously talented goal scorer who has exceptional poise and composure inside the 18-yard box, even with a crowd of defenders around him.
His finishing ability is top class and his effective runs cause nightmares for opposing defenders. Chelsea must contain Aguero on Monday or City will open up the scoring early.
Key Matchup: Chelsea center backs vs. City attack
Chelsea will likely use the center-back partnership of Alex and John Terry against City, and these two must play well for the Blues to win at the Bridge.
With David Luiz suspended due to yellow cards, Alex should come into the team and provide better defense than Luiz.
Against a City attack that boasts several world-class players, Terry and Alex must be solid defensively to give Chelsea a chance at victory
What They're Saying
Juan Mata believes that Chelsea can still win the Premier League, and said the following via Soccernet:
"It's not impossible for us to still win the title," Mata said. "There are so many weeks until the Premier League finishes and we will keep going every week to win and to be closer to first place.
"Have we answered the critics? Yes, with the win against Valencia and the last game at Newcastle. These two games have given us more confidence and we have to train this week very well to play against City. That is a very important game for us as well.
"We want to change our record in the big games this season because we lost against Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United but we hope against Manchester City we change this bad thing."
Prediction: Chelsea 3-2
Can Chelsea win the EPL if they beat City?
The Blues badly need this win. They have been in good form over the last few matches, and played very well against Valencia in a do-or-die Champions League group stage game in midweek.
Mata has really given Chelsea a world-class playmaking talent this season, and his performance will help the club score a few goals on Monday.
Drogba has been in good form lately as well, and scored against Newcastle in the club's last league game and also versus Valencia.
Chelsea will give an inspired effort on Monday to earn three hugely important points and get themselves back in the title race.