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Chelsea are still firmly in the title race as this Premier League season has thrown up plenty of surprises and one run can be enough to put you back in the mix.

That is the opinion of Arsenal legend and Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson.

Blues manager Frank Lampard is under heavy pressure after three defeats in their last four Premier League games.

Chelsea have slipped all the way down to ninth due to their lapse in form, six points off the top four.

But Merson insists that they are still not out of the race for first place.

“If Chelsea don't beat Fulham, should they sack Frank Lampard? It depends what Chelsea want this year,” he said in his latest column.

Paul Merson has backed Frank Lampard to turn things around at Chelsea
(Image: Michael Zemanek/BPI/REX/Shutterstock)

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“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 been out of form for weeks now
(Image: Andy Rain/POOL/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

“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.

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“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.”