Paul Merson states prediction for Middlesbrough v Chelsea

The Arsenal legend is tipping Chelsea to ease to victory over Middlesbrough on Sunday afternoon

Paul Merson is confident Chelsea will extend their winning Premier League run at Middlesbrough on Sunday afternoon.

The Blues are sitting in second place in the table and a point behind Premier League leaders Liverpool after 11 top-flight games.

The west London side have scored 16 times and have made kept five successive clean sheets in their last five Premier League fixtures.

Antonio Conte’s men have swept aside the challenges of Hull City, Leicester City, Manchester United, Southampton and Everton in recent weeks.

Chelsea have won eight of their 11 Premier League games to underline their status as title contenders under the former Juventus manager.

Former Arsenal midfielder Merson, who is a self-confessed Chelsea supporter, is backing the Blues to ease to victory over Boro despite the promoted side’s impressive recent record.

“This will be very, very difficult for them, and I think they’re going to set up, as they did against Arsenal and City, to make it very difficult for Chelsea to break them down,” Merson told Sky Sports.

“I’ve played at Boro, it’s harder to sit back at home than it is away, because the fans will want you to attack, but if they open this game up it will get messy.

“The three at the back is working for Chelsea, and I think the wing-backs have done great. But playing wing-back is the graveyard shift, it’s a hard job. You’re up and down, up and down all day, you have to be the full-back and the winger at the same time.

“I’d be shocked if Conte can get his wing-backs doing that week in, week out, and when they start getting tired, you start playing five at the back and getting overrun in midfield. If they can rotate their wing-backs, they can do anything.

“They’ve been outstanding since the Arsenal defeat, they have ripped teams apart. They made Everton look like a League Two team.”

Chelsea finished in tenth place in the 2015-16 Premier League campaign after a dreadful defence of their top-flight crown.

The west London side appointed Conte as their manager earlier this year.

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