Malouda: Blues have lost aura
Florent Malouda claims clubs are no longer afraid of Chelsea following their recent troubles.
The Blues enjoyed a breathtaking opening to the 2010/11 campaign, winning their first six games in all competitions and scoring goals for fun.
Since then they have gone steadily backwards, with the goals having dried up and three defeats suffered in their last four Premier League fixtures.
They also made hard work of a home date with Slovakian minnows MSK Zilina in the Champions League on Tuesday, with a second-half rally required to spare their blushes.
With unwelcome distractions having also reared their head off the field, Stamford Bridge is no longer the fortress it was just a few weeks ago.
Wing wizard Malouda admits as much, with the Frenchman aware that opponents feel the injury-hit Blues are there for the taking at the moment.
"Have we lost the fear factor? Yes," he said in the Evening Standard.
"Maybe teams have more confidence when they come here.
"Right now we have so many injuries and it's more difficult for us physically and mentally. It's a period of the season where the games are more difficult.
"You can recover better after a win, though, which is why I'm so happy we beat Zilina.
"This is the moment when players have to come in and show their quality."
While things are not going entirely to plan for Chelsea at the moment, Salomon Kalou is confident performances will improve once the likes of John Terry and Frank Lampard are fit again.
The Ivorian forward said: "When the injured players get back they'll bring their experience.
"They will bring back that anger a player has when he hasn't played for a while."