Lampard returns for Arsenal clash

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The Independent Football

Carlo Ancelotti insists that Sunday's Barclays Premier League showdown with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium will not decide the title or rule the Gunners out of the race.

Victory for Chelsea would put them 11 points ahead of Arsene Wenger's side and the Blues have been boosted by a fit again Frank Lampard.

The England midfielder injured his thigh on international duty but has regained full fitness in time to play against the Gunners.

"Frank is fit, yes," said Ancelotti. "He trained for the last two days and did very well. He's in good condition.

"He's ready to play. I think that our physio and our doctor worked very well with him. He is a fantastic professional player. He stayed to improve his condition for a long time in Cobham."

Lampard travelled to Serbia for placenta treatment but despite the miles, the player and the club doctor decided to undergo just one hour of standard massage treatment.

"He stayed one hour with the doctor for treatment and 80 hours - I don't know - in Cobham here to work," confirmed Ancelotti.

"But it is a very important game because Arsenal are one of the most important teams in England and Europe.

"They're playing very well. I like their style - they try to play and attack to create difficulties for the other teams.

"It will be a very good test for us. We want to put the best on the pitch against Arsenal. I think it will be a fantastic match because both teams want to play football. All the fans will have a fantastic opportunity to see a good game."

"This is not a decisive match for Chelsea or for Arsenal. It's an important match. Arsenal will want to win the game, and Chelsea also, but it's not decisive for the title.

"It would be 11 points if we won, but Arsenal would have a game in hand. It's not so important for the title."

A win for the Blues would also give them a clean sweep over their top four rivals, having already beaten Manchester United and Liverpool.

But Ancelotti played down the significance of success over their rivals.

"We don't want to send out a message," said Ancelotti. "We want to win to try to improve our position, that's all, not send a message.

"When you play against a strong team like Arsenal or Manchester United, it's an important test. This is an important test for us, but nobody else."

Much has been made of Arsenal's physical weakness compared to Chelsea but Ancelotti does not believe it will come down to whichever side is the strongest on the day.

"I think they have scored a lot of goals from free-kicks," added the Italian. "I don't want to think about this game only on free-kicks. We have to think about other things, that Arsenal have very good midfielders who we have to control. This can be a difficult match for us if Arsenal keep control of midfield.

"There is not a big difference between Arsenal and Chelsea in terms of their systems of play.

"I feel we have players in very good condition. I want to rotate in the next few games, like the last games against Wolves and against Porto.

"This is important. Maintaining players in good condition, with good feeling and a good atmosphere, is important."