Premier League champions Manchester United will try to put the pressure on leaders Manchester City when they face bottom of the table Blackburn Rovers at Old Trafford on Saturday.
A draw or better will see United go top ahead of City's New Year's Day trip to Sunderland. United will be firm favourites to give long-serving manager Sir Alex Ferguson a 70th birthday present of a victory against a Blackburn side that has won just twice in the league so far this season.
But while beating Rovers would be no surprise, ending the calendar year on top of the table would be a boost to a United team beaten 6-1 in the league by City, knocked out of the League Cup by second tier Crystal Palace and no longer involved in the Champions League following a shock loss to Basel.
"You are going to get setbacks," long-serving winger Ryan Giggs said. "It's about how you react to them. Thankfully we've come back strong.
"They can help in a way. I've experienced that throughout my career - you might hit bad form or miss a good chance, and you can't wait for the next game so you can rectify it. I'm sure all the lads felt like that after the City game and after Basel, which was a big disappointment too," said Giggs.
Many had predicted Blackburn boss Steve Kean would be out of a job by now but Venky's, the Indian-based poultry firm that owns Rovers, are standing by the Scot.