The maelstrom that is the life and times of John Terry again overshadows a big Chelsea fixture. The issue of the England captaincy and Terry’s relationship with other senior players in the national team, most notably Rio Ferdinand, inevitably caused the FA to act.

Presumably they decided that the debate about Terry’s suitability for the role was a sideshow which threatened to become the main event during this summer’s European Championships.

Many will also feel that Fabio Capello made a serious error of judgement in reappointing Terry in the first place. Ferdinand has said he doesn’t want the armband back, and in any case he has played in only seven of England’s last 26 games.

Injury means that Terry will not play in Sunday’s heavyweight clash, thereby preventing a first face-to-face meeting with Ferdinand since the accusations against Chelsea’s captain of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand were made.

So on to the real point of the afternoon – the game itself. Chelsea against Manchester United may look less like a title decider this year, but Chelsea are actually a point better off than at this stage last season and will want their say in the destination of the Premier League.

Having played Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool in quick succession, and with Liverpool coming up again, United are at a crucial stage of their season. They have hauled themselves level with Manchester City and will be desperate not to allow the pressure on their wobbly neighbours to ease.

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