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Arsenal legend and Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson thinks that Chelsea are still firmly in the Premier League title race this season. The Blues boss Frank Lampard is under pressure as his side are currently 9th in the league table with 10 points behind leaders – Manchester United.
The Blues have celebrated one win in their last four Premier League games as they lost two and played a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.
“If Chelsea don’t beat Fulham, should they sack Frank Lampard? It depends what Chelsea want this year,” he said in his latest column.
“It’s alright saying: ‘Let’s get rid of Frank’ but who comes in? Do they go back in for Rafa Benitez? If you’re going to bring in Andriy Shevchenko, what’s the difference? It’s the same as Lampard, he hasn’t managed world-class players, and will need time.
“It’s not like you can bring in a Carlo Ancelotti for a quick fix. Sooner or later, there has to be a plan at Chelsea. You can’t spend £200m and think you’re going to win the league, it doesn’t work like that.
“A plan is to be realistic about where they expect to come this season: I would have probably said the plan was to stay in the top four – because they already made the top four not spending £200m last season – and probably be in the title race.
“Chelsea have all the advantage on Saturday now because of Fulham having to play midweek. It isn’t kind to Fulham really because their team may have been different in the FA Cup against QPR.
“But the way the season is going, if you can win three games on the trot, you’re back in the title race. Teams are losing games and dropping points left, right and centre. If you put a run of five wins together, you’re probably top of the league. That wasn’t the case last year.
“It’s a massive football match, and it’s a big local derby. But Chelsea expect to beat Fulham, and should beat Fulham because they have better players. I expect them to win this game.
“If this was Chelsea’s points tally last season or the season before, I’d say Chelsea are in trouble. But not this season. They’re still in it, big time.
“ Manchester United have come from nowhere, chipping away, and all of a sudden they can spread eagle the field if they beat Liverpool. They’ve just had that bit of luck, starting in November against West Brom, who had a stonewall penalty.
“That’s why I still don’t think Chelsea are out of it. Whoever you are, put five wins together and you’re in it.”