After a fairly unsuccessful reign as Real Madrid manager, Jose Mourinho returned to Stamford bridge after five and a half years. Chelsea fans rejoiced at the second coming of the "special one" and so far the Portuguese has delivered a decent season so far on his return:
- A challenge for the league title is well under way with the Blues sitting in third place just two points behind leaders Arsenal
- A Champions League second-round tie against former star Didier Drogba's Galatasaray
- An FA Cup fourth round home tie against Stoke
All this means a potential treble is on the cards for the messiah's first season back at the helm.
His opponent this weekend is perhaps not enjoying quite the same satisfaction himself. Hand picked by Sir Alex Ferguson after the Scots retirement from the game, David Moyes see's his Manchester United side sitting 7th in the league table, a position almost unheard of at Old Trafford after so many years of success. Losses at home to West Brom, Newcastle and former club Everton, including a draw against Southampton as well as getting knocked out of the FA Cup thanks to a last minute Swansea winner have led to criticisms that the former Preston boss isn't up to the job.
His job has been made even harder with a number of injuries to players such as last seasons top scorer Robin Van Persie and fellow former Evertonian Wayne Rooney. Marouane Fellaini has failed to sparkle since following Moyes to United and has also suffered injuries thus far.
Despite these set-backs United have managed a few decent results this season. Beating Bayern Leverkusen in a record 5-0 away Champions League victory together with a 1-0 home victory Arsenal, in which old boy Van Persie got the winning goal.
All this leads an enticing fixture in which both managers need to secure all three points, Moyes more than "Mou".
The Red Devils manager must secure a much needed away win in order for their title challenge to stay alive. If they achieve anything less than a victory it could see the demise of a united side the likes of which has never been seen before. More doubts may grow over his ability and give their already difficult season another bitter blow. Points are not the only thing on the line though, with morale at stake United really have to dig deep if not for a win then at least for a decent performance. If Moyes manages to record an invaluable victory it would give his team a significant boost for the rest of the season.
Mourinho will also have to gain a positive result against the side he battled most for the league title during his first time in the Stamford Bridge hotseat. For the former Inter Milan manager the fact that he won't be competing with Ferguson on the touchline will be a new experience all together.
It would be foolish to think Mourinho could underestimate his counterpart but should Moyes get one over the Blues boss it might be seen as something of an embarrassment for the Portuguese. United have dropped important points this season including big away games to Liverpool and rivals Manchester City. If Jose loses this tie it could lead to questions of just how strong Chelsea are compared to their current title rivals, not to mention dent the bosses ego.
Whatever the outcome, it promises to be a true classic.