Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes has been ruled out until the New Year due to a groin injury.
United will go into Sunday's game with Chelsea and the busy festive period without Scholes after it was annouced he is struggling to shake off the niggling injury.
The news comes as a blow to Sir Alex Ferguson, whose United side has failed to win at Stamford Bridge in the league since 2002.
Scholes had hoped to be fit in time to play the champions, but after close to three weeks out the situation has not improved sufficiently.
Looking ahead to the game at Stamford Bridge, Ferguson was quick to emphasise the importance of the result.
"It's a big one for us," he told the club's official site.
"Our record down there has been poor over the last eight years. We've managed a few draws, but we've lost a few too.
"They're a tough team to beat on their own ground, their home record tells you that. But I'm going into the game with a strong, confident squad.
"You want to go there in good form and we are in good form."