Reigning European champions Chelsea will resume its title defense as it takes on Lille in the Champions league's last 16 match Tuesday.
Chelsea may be struggling a bit for consistency in the Premier League but has so far kept its act together in cup competitions.
While Thomas Tuchel's side is 13 points off the Premier League top it won the Club World Cup last month, is in the domestic League Cup final and also still alive in the FA Cup.
It also helps the Blues’ cause that goalkeeper Eduard Mendy recorded four clean sheets in the six group games, and also in their last outing Saturday which was, however, a late and unconvincing 1-0 at Crystal Palace.
Tuchel was quoted by the PA news agency as saying it was important "to be realistic and not over-expect from us" and to realize that "games against teams in midtable or the lower end of the table can become difficult games."
However, he was overall confident that his players would deliver at Stamford Bridge, with the second leg in France on March 16.
"We are confident to have a good performance because we deliver on a high level in knock-out matches, cup matches, Champions League matches," Tuchel said.
The Chelsea-Lille tie was the only matchup that stayed the same after the Champions League draw had to be redone after a glitch.
The Londoners will be even more delighted now. They can still host a side that has endured an alarming collapse, with Lille going from French champions last season to midtable now, 23 points behind Paris Saint-Germain at the top.
Chelsea, by contrast, has recovered from a wobble to win back-to-back Premier League games to make its hold on third place more secure.
It just needs to get record-signing Romelu Lukaku to be more prolific. Aside from two goals in this month's run to the Club World Cup title, the striker hasn't scored a goal against top-tier opposition since December in England.
He only managed seven touches of the ball in Saturday's 1-0 win at Crystal Palace – the fewest by any Premier League player in 90 minutes since Opta started logging the data over the last two decades.
Manager Tuchel blamed the lack of overall fluency on his players looking "a bit drained, a bit exhausted" after the Abu Dhabi trip.
Lille is also encountering frustration in attack with striker Jonathan David's goals drying up.
The Canadian forward had a bright first half of the season with three Champions League goals in the group stage and 12 goals in the French league this season.
However, he is experiencing a drought and has not scored in his last six league games.
Lille coach Jocelyn Gourvennec does at least seem to have stabilized the defense and heads to London on the back of two clean sheets.
The other Tuesday game sees Villarreal and Juventus meet for the first time.
Juventus hopes to return to the quarterfinals after being eliminated by Porto and Lyon at this stage in the last two seasons on an away-goals rule that has now been scrapped.
It had advanced past the round of 16 three straight times before that. Massimiliano Allegri's team is coming off two straight draws in the Italian league and has only one win in its last four games in the competition.
Villarreal, playing in the last 16 for the first time in 13 years, enters the match with forward Arnaut Danjuma in top form after he was sidelined for nearly two months because of an injury.
Making only his third appearance with the Spanish club since returning, the Dutchman scored a hat trick in Villarreal's 4-1 win at Granada in the Spanish league Saturday.
That extended the team's unbeaten streak to four matches in all competitions and left Unai Emery's reigning Europa League winners near the Champions League qualification places.