The biggest occasion in their 81-year history is approaching for minnows Wigan but the FA Cup final might prove an unwelcome distraction in their battle to retain English Premier League status.
A crushing 3-2 home defeat to Swansea on Tuesday left the plucky club from the north west staring at relegation to England's second tier after eight years of defying the odds.
Roberto Martinez's side, famous for miraculous escapes in previous years, now find themselves three points adrift of safety with just two games remaining.
It means their clash with Manchester City in England's premier domestic cup competition at Wembley on Saturday could be their last slice of the limelight for some time.
Conversely, City warmed up for the showpiece final with a 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion, that edged them towards a second place finish behind champions Manchester United.
Wigan had taken the lead over Swansea, nestled safely in mid table, thanks to a volley from Roger Espinoza but shortly after halftime Angel Rangel equalized with an equally smart volley.
James McCarthy restored Wigan's lead finishing off a fine move but then Wigan shot themselves in the foot with some sloppy defending which has blighted their season.
First a poor pass from Gary Caldwell allowed Itey Shechter to level things at 2-2 before a mix up in the six-yard box allowed Dwight Tiendalli to scramble home the winning goal.
With a trip to Arsenal and a home clash with Aston Villa left, Wigan now have a mountain to climb, but Martinez tried to remain positive.
"Today the number of injuries we have had at the back shows and there are key moments that affected us," Martinez told Sky Sports.
"We conceded sloppy goals with bad decisions and that's very unfortunate because you could see the effort of the players and the desire to want to win the game.
"Emotionally today was such a difficult game for us and when you concede such goals in a soft manner then it is hard to recover.
"It's a missed opportunity. We've got incredible character and we're determined to fight for every single point there is left."
City rested several players ahead of the cup final and their winner came from Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko. It moved them seven points clear of third placed Chelsea.
Roberto Mancini told reporters: "It was a difficult game because we changed a lot of players but it was important for us to win the game.
"After 10 minutes we started to play better and we missed five incredible chances to score which made it difficult for us in the second half."
In Italy, Roma missed the chance to draw level on points with fifth-placed Fiorentina in Serie A after they lost to Chievo Verona.
Cyril Thereau scored the only goal of the game in the final minute of the match to move Chievo Verona into 12th position.