Paul Merson has outlined the difference between Chelsea and Manchester United ahead of their Premier League showdown on Monday night.
With Chelsea hosting United and Tottenham in their next two games, Frank Lampard's side have an opportunity to take serious steps towards Champions League qualification for next season.
A Chelsea win on Monday would put them nine points clear of United, while Tottenham are currently four points behind their London rivals.
And former Arsenal midfielder Merson says the difference between Chelsea and their Monday night opponents is that Lampard appears to be implementing a clear plan for the future – while United's progress looks to be far more haphazard.
"Chelsea can put the top four race to bed in their next two games and Monday night is a massive match," Merson wrote in his column for the Daily Star .
"I’m going to be there to see them take on Manchester United – and if they win that one and then beat Tottenham they will finish in the top four.
"That would be a huge achievement for Frank Lampard in his first season, after selling a world-class player in Eden Hazard and not replacing him, and playing with a young team.
"He’s made some mistakes. He’s chased too many games when he hasn’t needed to and ended up throwing points away, and they have struggled at home a bit.
"That will come with experience. But at least you can see a plan. They have gone with younger players and they are building something."
Merson highlighted the difference between Chelsea and United's transfer approaches, with Lampard's side ready to welcome 26-year-old attacking midfielder Hakim Ziyech from Champions League semi-finalists Ajax at the end of this season.
United, in contrast, moved to ease their striking woes by bringing in 30-year-old Odion Ighalo on loan from Shanghai Shenhua – and Merson made it clear he feels Chelsea are making the better moves in the transfer market.
"Now they’re buying Hakim Ziyech from Ajax," he said. "Another good signing. Quick. Experienced. Full of goals, and the right age.
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