Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson insists Sunday's Premier League clash with Chelsea holds all the importance of an end-of-season title decider.
Ferguson welcomes the Blues to Old Trafford on Sunday, a match which can be seen live on Sky Sports 1 and HD1, at an unusually early stage of the season.
Every campaign since 2002/03, the Red Devils have faced Chelsea in the closing weeks of the season, with their summit meetings frequently termed decisive in the title race.
However, after September's 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge, this weekend's match will be the final league meeting of the current season.
But Ferguson, whose side could move to within one point of Luiz Felipe Scolari's men with two games in hand, is not playing down the significance.
"That will be a big game. It's unusual to have it in January, it's usually towards the end of the season," the Scot told Inside United .
"It's been later - in the last two or three games - for the last two seasons. It doesn't matter when you play Chelsea, though, it's always going to be a massive game.
"It's a little different with the timing, but we're still aiming to win it. They've done very well away from home but not so well at home so it's been interesting from them this season."