Lee Dixon: If I were in United's back four I'd hate to see Drogba playing. But the title will still go north

The Weekend Dossier

Chelsea have all the momentum going into tomorrow's all-important contest with Manchester United, having chased down the leaders over the past two months.

That momentum, and the effect it has on the team being chased, can be telling. In 1998, I was part of the Arsenal team that won the Premier League despite being 13 points behind Manchester United at one stage in the season. We got into the mindset that we were going to win every single game without really having to think about it, and we went on a run that included a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford.

It is like a race in any other sport – once the leader starts looking over his shoulder at those catching them up, then the gap gets even smaller. It is no different in football. Once you take your eye off the ball, the whole demeanour changes. You have to be a really strong side, with confident characters, to fight that off.

History shows that United, more often than not, can close out a title race from this position, that they have the character to do that. But it could also be that the astonishing run that Chelsea are on, coming from 15 points back, has got United worried, as good as they are.

Chelsea are in the advantageous position of having almost nothing to lose. I am sure they have been looking at each other in the dressing room and they can't believe they have still got a chance to win the title with three games to go, after their terrible spell at the end of last year. It worked that way for us in 1998, when we went on to win the title.

But it also worked the other way in 1989, when the whole season came down to one game, when we had to win by two clear goals at Liverpool, and Michael Thomas scored the decisive goal in stoppage time. In some respects, there are similarities between that game 22 years ago and tomorrow's contest at Old Trafford – the away team needs to win at the home of the league leaders.

Liverpool had not lost by two goals at home for decades, and everyone expected them to win, just as the fans at Old Trafford will be expecting United to beat Chelsea tomorrow.

But also the roles were reversed. In 1989, Arsenal had been leading from the front, and Liverpool had closed the gap when we lost at home to Derby and then drew with Wimbledon. With the title in our hands, we had almost thrown the league away and Liverpool had all the momentum.

I remember we felt like we had nothing to lose, took the game to them, and they started tightening up. It was a great Liverpool team, but the occasion got to them, and it was us that won the title.

It will be fascinating to see what team Sir Alex Ferguson plays. He made a mistake at Arsenal last Sunday when he allowed his team to be outnumbered in midfield. He didn't match Arsenal's three in the middle and Wayne Rooney ended up dropping deeper and deeper to help out, which is a great sight for an opposition defence. He will not make that mistake again this weekend.

Chelsea will probably play their three-man midfield, and I expect Ferguson will go like for like, with Park Ji-sung in the side. The South Korean tends to play all the big games for United as Ferguson likes the way his energy and drive rubs off on the others. You may lose a little pace down the flanks, but it allows Rooney to be more creative, which is what United will need.

Ferguson will believe that if he matches his 11 against Chelsea's 11, then his team will win. He will not feel a need to outwit Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti.

For Chelsea, the choice is simple – you have to play Didier Drogba up top. If I were a member of United's back four, I would want to see him as far away from me as possible. Drogba is a powerhouse, and that can scare defenders. If a player is very skillful, then it becomes a mental battle, and good players will always enjoy the challenge that presents. But when it is also such a physical battle, then it becomes hard, and some defenders are scared of that.

There is more to Drogba's game than just power but it is his biggest asset and Chelsea play to his strengths. So for me it is simple – Drogba plays up front and Fernando Torres starts on the bench, whether Roman Abramovich likes it or not.

It has been such an unpredictable season all along that anything could still happen. It would not surprise me, for instance, if Chelsea were to win at Old Trafford tomorrow, but then lose to Everton on the final day of the season, handing the title to Manchester United. It has been a very strange season in that respect.

Having said that, I believe United will get something from the game tomorrow, and will go on to win what would be an historic 19th league title.

I went to West Ham training and was aghast at what I saw

I always thought West Ham would have too much quality to be relegated – that is until I paid a visit to their training ground a couple of weeks ago. I joined Bob Wilson on a charity bike ride and we pedalled to West Ham. It was a Monday morning and the first team, who had played on Saturday, were doing a warm-down session.

It was also an open day, with maybe 1,000 fans watching an eight-v-eight game involving players who had not featured at the weekend.

I have been a player, and I know Monday morning training can be tough, but I could not believe what I was seeing. It was a total shambles. Players were arguing with each other, others weren't trying, some were sulking.

When I saw that, I thought they have no chance of getting out of trouble. That kind of attitude, particularly on an open day when fans are watching, is not good enough. So I am not surprised to see them at the bottom of the table.

They have a spine of England internationals in the team, but still find themselves deep in trouble.

You have to think they will need at least seven points from the last three games and they have no form at all at the moment.

The players have to take their share of the blame for the results, but manager Avram Grant must take responsibility for the atmosphere at training sessions.

Five Asides

1. Lambert is a great talent and deserves promotion

Congratulations to Norwich on their promotion. I used to love playing at Carrow Road as they have a hardcore of supporters. They seem to have found a special manager in Paul Lambert. His talent is such that it was only a matter of time before he moved up to a bigger stage, and it is wonderful he's got there with Norwich.

2. Blackpool's tough finish could spell disaster

I fear for Blackpool. Their approach to life in the Premier League has been refreshing, but with their final games being Spurs away today, Bolton at home and then Manchester United away, I worry they won't stay up.

3. Mourinho must stop all this foolishness

I hope Jose Mourinho sits down with a cup of tea at some point this week, thinks about the past couple of weeks, and decides he has been foolish. His claims of conspiracy in favour of Barcelona have alienated him from the public, and from elements within his own club. Hopefully, he'll realise he has made a mistake.

4. Spurs shouldn't fear a mass exodus

Tottenham's season has been a huge anti-climax, but I don't think finishing outside the top four will have a massive impact on them. It might mean they can't sign a really top player but I don't think it'll mean their stars want to leave.

5. Sometimes Americans just don't get it, do they?

I've been in America, and sometimes it is driven home to you how little they know about football. I asked a local guy, who was part-Italian, who his favourite team was, thinking he might say Milan or someone, and he replied: "Scotchland." Who does he mean?

Dixon's verdict on all the weekend action

Aston Villa vs Wigan Athletic

Dixon's verdict: Emile Heskey could be back to face his former side, and that could help a Villa team looking to bounce back from defeat at West Bromwich and confirm safety. Wigan look good but it's a home win for me.

Kick-off: Today, 3pm (Highlights BBC 1, 10.35pm)

Prediction: Home win

Bolton Wanderers vs Sunderland

Dixon's verdict: After finally getting back to winning ways against Wigan, Sunderland slumped back to defeat against Fulham. Their players will look to finish strongly, though, and could take a point off a tired Bolton.

Kick-off: Today, 3pm (Highlights BBC 1, 10.35pm)

Prediction: Draw

Everton vs Manchester City

Dixon's verdict: Manchester City appear to have sewn up the Champions League spot, although this could be a tricky fixture against an Everton side they have beaten only once at Goodison in 12 attempts.

Kick-off: Today, 3pm (Highlights BBC 1, 10.35pm)

Prediction: Draw

Newcastle United vs Birmingham City

Dixon's verdict: Newcastle have looked safe for a few weeks, while Birmingham harbour lingering relegation doubts, but I think Alan Pardew's side will come out on top against the Midlanders.

Kick-off: Today, 3pm (Highlights BBC 1, 10.35pm)

Prediction: Home win

West Ham United vs Blackburn Rovers

Dixon's verdict: What a crucial game this is, with both sides desperate for points. Avram Grant's side have to go for the win, while Rovers will be happy for a point, and I can see that being the final outcome.

Kick-off: Today, 3pm (Highlights BBC 1, 10.35pm)

Prediction: Draw

Tottenham Hotspur vs Blackpool

Dixon's verdict: Tottenham will be most people's favourites here, despite Blackpool arguably having more to play for, although I'm not sure that finishing fifth is what Spurs need. A Europa place brings too many games.

Kick-off: Today, 5.30pm (ESPN; Highlights BBC 1, 10.35pm)

Prediction: Home win

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs West Bromwich Albion

Dixon's verdict: Mick McCarthy's side jump from one derby match to another, still in dire need of results. How they would love to be in Roy Hodgson's position, safety assured and already planning for next season.

Kick-off: Tomorrow, 12pm (Sky Sports 1; Highlights BBC 2, 10pm)

Prediction: Home win

Stoke City vs Arsenal

Dixon's verdict: This match is perhaps not as important as it might have been had Arsenal been a few points better off, and I think both sides may be happy with a draw. Stoke will be desperate to avoid any more injuries.

Kick-off: Tomorrow, 2.05pm (Sky Sports 1; Highlights BBC 2, 10pm)

Prediction: Draw

Manchester United vs Chelsea

Dixon's verdict: What a position United found themselves in this week, able to rest half a team in a Champions League semi-final. This is their main focus now, and Sir Alex Ferguson will be happy with a draw.

Kick-off: Tomorrow, 4.10pm (Sky Sports 1; Highlights BBC 2, 10pm)

Prediction: Draw

Fulham vs Liverpool

Dixon's verdict: I have been really impressed with the efforts of Liverpool since Kenny Dalglish's returns and they can continue that run here against a Fulham side who have achieved safety for another season.

Kick-off: Monday, 8pm (Sky Sports 1; Highlights SS1, Tues, 1.30am)

Prediction: Away win

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