Chelsea will look to avoid tripping on a possible banana skin against relegation-threatened West Ham United in Wednesday night's London derby at Stamford Bridge.
This busy stretch of the programme saw the Blues win 1-0 over Stoke City on Sunday to advance to the FA Cup quarter-finals to face Manchester City.
Before that, Jose Mourinho's men travel to the Etihad Stadium next Monday night in a league clash between sides separated by one point. The Citizens and Blues are behind league leaders Arsenal.
With Monday's fixture in mind, Mourinho will want to see the type of coolly efficient performance he got Sunday. Oscar's stunning first-half freekick was the difference.
''I think 1-0 is short for the way we played and for the way we controlled the game. But the important thing today was to win and not play a replay, because we don't need an extra match and I think that was a good thing,'' Mourinho said.
Nemanja Matic made his full Chelsea debut as one of five changes from a 3-1 victory over Manchester United the previous Sunday. Mark Schwarzer was in goal, David Luiz came into central defence, and Ashley Cole, Andre Schurrle and Frank Lampard all came into the side.
"We had some fantastic play, I think fantastic individual elections, very good collective movements against a team that is a difficult team," Mourinho said. "I think we played very well."
Juan Mata's departure to United is complete and Mourinho could hand a Chelsea debut to Egypt international Mohamed Salah.
The Blues have won seven straight in all competitions and five on the trot in the league.
The East End club will make the journey across town on the heels of a humiliating 9-0 two-legged exit at the hands of Manchester City in the League Cup.
Sam Allardyce's club had the weekend off having already been ousted from the FA Cup and will be boosted by the signings of two Serie A veterans in Italian internationals Marco Borriello and Antonio Nocerino.
"At long last, after a gruelling eight weeks or so, we've finally managed to secure two new faces," Allardyce told West Ham's official website.
Nocerino comes in from AC Milan, a move made possible because Michael Essien departed Chelsea for the Rossoneri. Borriello comes over from title-chasing Roma.
The Hammers will receive fitness boosts from James Collins, George McCartney and Joey O'Brien. Andy Carroll could receive his first Premier League start with the Hammers after he started last week against City.
West Ham have won once in the league since the start of December and face an important 11 days to start February against Swansea City, Aston Villa and Norwich City. Allardyce insists he will focus on getting a result at impenetrable Stamford Bridge.
"We can't go to Chelsea and lie down," he said. "We can't go to Chelsea and think that we're not going to get a result."
Former Hammers star Lampard scored twice and Oscar added the other goal in a 3-0 victory in the reverse fixture at Upton Park on Nov. 13.
"Stopping Oscar, Hazard, Eto'o is one of the elements for us which we have to be very careful of," Allardyce said. "When those players get the ball we have to make sure we're very sharp and that we close them down, otherwise their skills and abilities will make life difficult for us."
- Sports & Recreation
- West Ham United
- Jose Mourinho
- Manchester United
- Manchester City