Paul Merson makes bold prediction about Chelsea and Antonio Conte

Paul Merson predicts how Chelsea will do under Antonio Conte next season

Paul Merson believes Chelsea will struggle under Antonio Conte in their first season under the Italian’s management.

The Blues endured a miserable top-flight campaign after putting together the worst defence of a Premier League crown in the division’s 24 history.

Jose Mourinho, who has been linked with the Manchester United job, was sacked in December after nine defeats in the opening four months of the season.

Even Guus Hiddink couldn’t revive Chelsea’s season as the west London side fell short in the Champions League and the FA Cup.

Italy head coach Conte is set to take over the reins of Chelsea in the summer after Euro 2016 in France.

But former Arsenal playmaker Merson doesn’t believe Merson’s appointment will trigger a drastic reversal in fortunes for the Blues.

Asked if Chelsea would challenge for the title next season, Merson told Fantasy FC podcast: “I don’t think they will. It will be very hard for the manager.”

MORE: The latest Chelsea news and views

MORE: The latest Chelsea player tweets

Chelsea won their fourth Premier League title under Mourinho last term.

Michael Owen
Michael Owen predicts the scoreline of Chelsea FC v Man United
Thomas Tuchel
Thomas Tuchel: What I really think about Man United right now
Thomas Tuchel
Paul Merson states his prediction for Chelsea FC v Man United
Michael Owen
Michael Owen reveals his prediction for Arsenal v Newcastle United
Thomas Tuchel
Mark Lawrenson states his prediction for Chelsea FC v Man United
Michael Owen
Michael Owen predicts the scoreline of Chelsea FC v Man United
Thomas Tuchel
Thomas Tuchel: What I really think about Man United right now
Thomas Tuchel
Paul Merson states his prediction for Chelsea FC v Man United
Michael Owen
Michael Owen reveals his prediction for Arsenal v Newcastle United
Thomas Tuchel
Mark Lawrenson states his prediction for Chelsea FC v Man United
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature