Malouda: We fear nobody
Chelsea winger Florent Malouda insists the Blues are ready to confound their critics by stretching their lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League.
Carlo Ancelotti's side made it five straight wins so far this season with a 4-0 drubbing of Blackpool at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, a victory which put them four points clear at the top of the table and took their goal tally to 25 in all competitions. But Chelsea have not yet been tested in wins over West Brom, Wigan, Stoke, West Ham and Blackpool, and sterner tests are around the corner in the form of a trip to Manchester City this weekend before facing title rivals Arsenal at home.
"People don't believe what we have done up until now has been that great because they say we have had easy games," said Malouda - who grabbed a double against Blackpool. "This will show we're ready for any kind of opposition."
The France international added: "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.
"There will be a big atmosphere and their players will be waiting for that game. Maybe it is a way for their team to show they're ready to challenge for the title so we are going there to defend our title. Last year was difficult for us but we'll go there to try and get the points.
"We're aware that the season is long and you don't win anything in September. We have to carry on and keep our focus.
"I know it's going to be tight until the end of the season and when the other teams drop points we must try to take the opportunity. We're ready to succeed, that's why in training we work very hard.
"We are using our experience of last year and know nothing is easy. We won the League by one point on the last day so we're preparing for the same situation this season."