Chelsea did lose at Wigan 3-1 earlier this season but is in rich form and expected to cruise to victory over the Latics on the same day Manchester United host Stoke.
Chelsea and United have traded first place since the end of August, but the Blues are an overwhelming favourite to win the title after spending all but one day at the top of the table since April 3.
After nine goals in its past two matches, the biggest obstacle to Chelsea’s first league title since 2006 could be how it copes with the pressure of being favourite.
“If we don’t capitalise on Sunday, all that work will be in vain,” Chelsea striker Salomon Kalou said. “Just one game can spoil everything and we have to play like we want to be champions.”
But British bookmaker William Hill rates Chelsea as a 1-12 favorite to reclaim the title from United, which is a 6-1 outsider to overcome a one-point deficit.
And Chelsea has already shown spirit by overcoming every setback this season in style.
It rebounded from its Champions League exit with an unbeaten run that included victory at United and an FA Cup semifinal win, before following last month’s surprise loss at Tottenham with a third seven-goal win of the season and a 2-0 victory at Liverpool.
Kalou said the key is to treat each game as of equal importance.
“We are just training like we train before every game and even if it is the most important game of the season, if we play like we know how to play then it should be a nice game to watch,” Kalou said. “We should go there and enjoy the moment because you don’t get these opportunities always.
“Playing for the title in front of your own supporters, we have to enjoy that and make them enjoy it as well and hopefully in the end we can all celebrate together.”
United can only go for victory over an obdurate Stoke side and hope for Wigan to do it a favour, such as when it drew 1-1 at Stamford Bridge two years ago.
“It’s been a weird season,” United defender Rio Ferdinand said. “Hopefully that will bode well for Chelsea’s game on Sunday”. — AP.