Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Now for the Hard Part Malouda Insists the Champions Are Ready for Bigger Tests after Another Romp at the Bridge

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Now for the Hard Part Malouda Insists the Champions Are Ready for Bigger Tests after Another Romp at the Bridge

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon Johnson Football Correspondent

FLORENT MALOUDA has admitted Chelsea are ready to silence the cynics by beating rivals Manchester City and Arsenal in their next two Premier League games to take even greater control of the title race.

Chelsea secured a fifth victory in a row with a 4-0 demolition of Blackpool at Stamford Bridge to establish a four-point lead at the top of the table.

The defending champions have yet to play any of the top sides which has led many critics, including Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, to dismiss their impressive early form as having benefitted from "an easy start".

But Chelsea's credentials will be put to the test as they have an away game at Manchester City, who did the double over them last season, next Saturday before taking on title challengers Arsenal at home a week later.

Malouda can't wait for the opportunity to prove that Chelsea are the best team in the country and said: "People don't believe what we have done up until now has been that great because they say we have had easy games. This will show we're ready for any kind of opposition.

"A lot of people see these two games as a test but we're ready. For us it could be our opportunity to prove that we're champions and we will defend our title at any price. Both will be tough opponents but we have confidence in ourselves and the way we are working.

"We're trying to improve on what we did last season. We didn't come back thinking we are champions so it will be easy. We know there is going to be pressure but we have experienced players who are ready to handle that. We're much better under pressure so now we just have to stay calm.

"Manchester City were the only team to do the double over us last season and that could be a big motivation for us. I know they're getting better and bought a lot of good players. …

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