Avram Grant can only win by attacking

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With Manchester United now five points distant in the title race Chelsea have arrived at a win or bust fixture. Every Chelsea follower now knows that Chelsea have to beat Manchester United at Stamford Bridge (as well as winning every other game) and then rely on United losing one or drawing two of their other three fixtures. Put in stark terms it is getting close to the end.

But hope springs eternal and a win for Chelsea tonight coupled with a Blackburn win at the weekend (Blackburn have an excellent record against United) and the title race is suddenly in Chelsea's hands. And if Avram Grant can wrest the title race advantage back to Chelsea then he will deserve enormous credit for recovering from the immediate post-Mourinho trauma that many pundits suggested would cost Chelsea their place in the top four - never mind the top two.

But Grant will remain unloved if he persists with negative, defensive systems that win a lot of games - but few plaudits.

On the other hand if Chelsea lose then they can adjust to the fact that the title has gone and get on with preparation for the Champions' League game against Liverpool. In losing Chelsea will heap pressure on Liverpool to play a stronger team than they would like against Fulham because Everton would be only two points adrift. If Chelsea lose then there is suddenly almost no pressure on them domestically and they can rest every key player in the league game between the two Champions' League fixtures. A loss may well strengthen the Chelsea chances in Europe.

But regardless of the result, Chelsea need to display a buccaneer spirit and demonstrate to the owner that Avram Grant can get a team to play with verve and devil-may-care spirit. If Chelsea go behind throw on every attacker available - play for goals because Everton are scoring about one goal per game at the minute and Chelsea can outscore them.

Better to lose 4-2 tonight and fight for the cause in a thrilling end to end match than grind out the kind of anodyne 0-0 or 1-1 result that often holds Chelsea back from being praised by neutral commentators. In any event a display of attacking flair could save Grant regardless of whether he wins a cup this season.

Chelsea need to be brave tonight and attack an out-of-sorts Everton side, even in defeat there are positives and reasons why Grant should be signing the cheques in the summer that many newspapers are reporting will value 100m.


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