LONDON – Frank Lampard is glad to see Chelsea back at the top of the Premier League ahead of their crunch London derby against title rivals Arsenal on Saturday.

Chelsea have fallen short in recent seasons but Jose Mourinho’s return to Stamford Bridge has injected new life into the team. “It’s great to be in this position,” Lampard said of Chelsea’s current top spot.

Back in 2005, Mourinho guided the London club to their first championship in 50 years and they defended the title the following season.

However The Blues have won just one Premier League since, in 2010 under Carlo Ancelotti.

Chelsea won the 2012 Champions League and FA Cup, but finished the season 25 points adrift of winners Manchester City in sixth place.

A year later they were 14 points behind Manchester United, finishing third, but won the Europa League.

Mourinho, who returned to Stamford Bridge in pre-season, says that Manchester City are still favourites as they have games in hand.

But England midfielder Lampard, whose side suffered a setback with a shock 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa last weekend, was nevertheless buoyed by Chelsea being four points ahead of second-placed Liverpool.

“We’ve had a couple of years, two or three years, off the pace, finishing short,” the England midfielder added.

“It’s great to be back in the race and to feel that around the club, to feel we’re fighting for the title rather than fighting for fourth place. It feels good.”

After reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a 3-1 aggregate defeat of Galatasaray, Chelsea face a London derby with Arsenal — who are looking for their first trophy in nine years.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, branded a “specialist in failure” by Mourinho last month, will take charge of his 1,000th game as Gunners boss this weekend.

“They’ve got a lot of good players and quality,” Lampard said of Arsenal. “Every team has to break the mould some time.

“We worry about ourselves, where we are at the minute. If we can win as many games as we can till the end of the season we’ll give ourselves a great chance. I am confident.” (AFP)


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