By Chris Harris
Chelsea have played second fiddle to Manchester United for the past couple of years but there are signs this season that they are ready to reclaim their mantle as Premier League champions.
The appointment of Luis Felipe Scolari has galvanised the Blues, adding a certain swagger to the discipline and organisation which has served Chelsea so well since Roman Abramovich's billions propelled them into football's upper echelons.
Scolari has liberated his squad from the safety-first approach which prevailed under Jose Mourinho and Avram Grant, allowing full-backs Jose Bosingwa and Ashley Cole to play to their attacking strengths. A tally of 32 goals in 14 games is testament to that.
Ahead of Sunday's game at Stamford Bridge, we asked Dan Levene of the Kensington and Chelsea News for his take on Chelsea's new approach, the blistering form of Nicolas Anelka, the Portuguese summer signings and the reason why this weekend's London derby could be an open affair.
THE STORY SO FAR
The thing with Chelsea is that sometimes they look fantastic and sometimes they just don’t. It seems that if they are playing a weak side that shows any sign of weakness at all, they will pounce and they will kill. It is quite vicious to see the five goals scored against Sunderland and against Middlesbrough. However if a team comes along like Newcastle, who just park the bus in front of the goal, they do seem to have difficulty finding a way through.
MAN OF THE MOMENT
It has been widely reported that Phil Scolari has brought the kind of attacking, exciting football that the owner of the club wants to see. He has really started to move forwards, particularly with the full backs, which is good news for people like Ashley Cole and Jose Bosingwa who seem to be in their element at the moment. The pair are banging forward and getting the balls in to the forwards.
"Chelsea have struggled for a while in the right back position. They looked slightly unbalanced because while Ashley Cole oozes quality - if nothing else Arsenal fans will appreciate that - but he did not have any counter balance down the right-hand side. Bosingwa however has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water. He has been finding his way through opposition defences and he really has made an incredible difference to Chelsea.
THE ONE TO WATCH
Anelka is a man who plays so much off confidence and there is no doubt that he has bucket loads of that at the moment. Once he starts scoring, as Arsenal fans will know, he can’t stop. Certainly that has been what has happened in recent weeks for Chelsea and he has made the centre forward position his own. Fans have started to see those little nicks and little touches that have singled him out as one of the best strikers in the world in recent weeks.
CAUSE FOR CONCERN
Deco is a quality player. He is one of those players that if he picks up the ball in the right place and does something amazing with it, even the opposition fans will be on their feet applauding. But after a fantastic start, where he adjusted very quickly to the Premier League, he has not really looked the same since coming back from his injury and that is something that will worry Chelsea supporters.
Chelsea have had difficulties at home, a few of the quality sides have come along and known that the easy way to stop Chelsea scoring is to put two banks of four in front of the goal. With that happening, Chelsea have shown a slight lack of imagination recently and they have not managed to battle through. But Arsenal are not really the sort of team who will want to do that. They are certainly a team who are going to play attacking football as everyone knows. It could be a very interesting and exciting game on Sunday. I will go for Chelsea to nick it 2-1, but I certainly wouldn’t put much money on it either way.