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Chelsea star: I have a lot of respect for Arsenal

Frank Lampard insists he has "a lot of respect" for Chelsea's next opponents Arsenal. But is his future any clearer?

Jose Mourinho's side will host the Gunners at Stamford Bridge on Saturday lunchtime in what will be Arsene Wenger's 1,000th game in charge of the north London side.

But this time, a Chelsea - Arsenal clash at the business end of the season has more than just pride at stake.

Unlike in recent seasons, when both the Blues and Wenger's men have played second fiddle to the Manchester clubs in the Premier League, either side is more than capable of winning this year's title.

Chelsea currently sit atop the league table, four points clear of Arsenal, although their London rivals have a game in hand.

Lampard, then, knows how close it is at the top of the Premier League - and is wary of an Arsenal team he now has "a lot of respect" for.

“It’s a big test, a big game considering we lost our last Premier League game at [Aston] Villa," the 35-year-old is quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror.

“Have Arsenal surprised me this season? Yes and no. To be fair, they are always in the top four and Champions League every year. I know they have been slightly off the pace in certain years, but I think they have improved and I have a lot of respect for Arsenal."

As well as praising his opponents this coming Saturday, Lampard also expressed his delight that Chelsea are finally back in contention for the title themselves.

And yet whether the midfielder will remain at Stamford Bridge to reap the rewards of another league trophy is still unclear.

With 33 appearances in all competitions for Chelsea, the midfielder is still going strong for the club, while he delivered an impressive Champions League performance in his last outing against Galatasaray.

But like last campaign, the 35-year-old's contract expires at the end of the current season.

A one-year extension is reportedly a viable option for both player and club, but reported interest from the MLS could yet sway Lampard.

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