Paul Merson states his prediction for Chelsea v West Ham

Paul Merson looks ahead to Chelsea's Premier League opener against West Ham United on Monday

Paul Merson is backing Chelsea to get their first season under Antonio Conte off to a winning start by beating West Ham United 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Monday night.

The Blues are preparing to welcome their bitter local rivals to west London as they look to build some momentum following Conte’s appointment as their new boss.

The west London side are out to put the disappointment of their below-par season last term behind them, after they finished in 10th place in the Premier League table with their title defence in tatters.

Chelsea do not have any European competition to worry about this season as they focus purely on domestic affairs in Conte’s first campaign at the helm.

And former Arsenal man Merson is fully expecting to see the Blues click into gear and secure a comfortable 2-0 win over the east London outfit at Stamford Bridge on Monday night.

Writing in his column for Sky Sports, Merson said: “It’s a difficult start for both teams but I’m going for Chelsea to win the league so I’m going for a Chelsea win here, too.

“People say they weren’t great defensively last season but Conte is a great tactician and they will improve.

“If N’Golo Kante gets around Dimitri Payet, I don’t see Payet touching the ball too often. He’s a top player and you don’t want to be giving away free-kicks around the box, but he’s not really going to run away from defenders.”

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Chelsea won the Premier League and League Cup in the 2013-14 campaign under Jose Mourinho.

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