Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson believes that there is a heavier weight on Chelsea’s mind heading into Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley.
The two London clubs will fight for a spot in May’s showpiece, but they will also have the Premier League title race in the back of their minds.
As it stands, the Blues lead the way in the chase for the title, and they have been in that position for five months, but Spurs have cut the gap to four points with six games left to play.
Merson has claimed that this weekend’s meeting will affect the title race from a psychological standpoint, with Chelsea in more need of a win following their recent 2-0 loss to Manchester United.
They face a team that have won their last eight games in all competitions, but Merson is wary that Mauricio Pochettino’s men have not faced the so-called bigger clubs since March.
In a piece for Sky Sports the ex-Arsenal player predicted a slender 2-1 win for Antonio Conte’s Chelsea.
“Looking at this match from a psychological point of view in terms of the title race, it’s bigger for Chelsea than Tottenham. If they lose this after the defeat at Manchester United, then the doubts will really start creeping in.
“Tottenham have been steamrollering teams in recent weeks but they have not had a serious test since Gent and Liverpool before that. Chelsea will want to produce a response and they should edge a close one.”