Aston Villa midfielder Stiliyan Petrov claims Chelsea are "not the team they used to be under Jose Mourinho" - but still expects a stern test in Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash at Villa Park.
Third-placed Villa would open up a five-point gap if they can triumph in what will be Guus Hiddink's first match in charge of Chelsea.
Petrov said: "Have Chelsea lost their invincibility? When Jose Mourinho was here, they had a special team and they had more belief in themselves. They are definitely not the team they used to be under Jose Mourinho."
He added: "A lot of changes have happened there but they will still be strong, they have players to win games. We will try to give them as much respect as we can but we will try to win as well.
"Chelsea will be strong. They have a new manager. Every new manager tries to win his first game.
"We expect a very hard game. They will try to show they are still fighting for the title but we won't give up.
"We will try to show them what we have achieved so far is not just because of luck but because of the way we have been playing. It is very tight race at the moment and every point from now on will be important."
Petrov wants to see if Villa have learnt lessons from their 2-0 defeat against the Blues earlier in the campaign.
He said: "That is the game in which we were really outplayed. They were quicker, faster, stronger than us and it is up to us to see if we have taken anything from that game.
"We will find out if we have learnt from our mistakes, find out if we are we going to be the same. We will see on Saturday. We have a lot of points to prove - but first to prove we are not in our situation through luck but through hard work and good play."
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms