Paul Merson states his prediction for Chelsea v Sunderland

Paul Merson is backing Chelsea to beat Sunderland 3-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon

Paul Merson is backing Chelsea to return to winning ways following Jose Mourinho’s sacking when they host Sunderland at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon.

Mourinho was dismissed as Blues boss on Thursday afternoon after the west London side slumped to their ninth Premier League defeat of the season at Leicester City on Monday night.

The Portuguese coach leaves Chelsea languishing in 16th place in the Premier League table and just a point above the relegation zone after a disastrous start to the new campaign.

However, former Arsenal star Merson feels that Mourinho’s sacking will allow Chelsea to bounce back to winning ways at home to the Black Cats on Saturday afternoon.

Merson told Sky Sports: “The shackles are off Sunderland, they’ll stick 10 men behind the ball and frustrate Chelsea, but with Jose Mourinho gone, the shackles are also off Chelsea with the hope of a fresh start following the nightmare season so far.

“I back Chelsea to bounce back each week and they don’t do it. I’ve seen Chelsea enough this season.

“They have not lost nine games for no reason. Mourinho came out and said that they won’t reach the top four.

“Every Chelsea fan was probably thinking before the Bournemouth or Leicester game “let’s just win this and we’ll go on a seven-game winning streak and reach the top four eventually.” But Jose has straight up ruled it out. What sort of message was that to the fans?”

Chelsea are yet to appoint a successor for Mourinho in the wake of Thursday’s news.

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Pep Guardiola, Guus Hiddink, Brendan Rodgers and Juande Ramos have all already been touted as possible successors at Stamford Bridge.

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