Paul Merson: This proves Chelsea are a top team

The Arsenal legend heaps praise on Antonio Conte's Chelsea side

Paul Merson believes Chelsea have the players to turn games in their favour even when Antonio Conte’s side aren’t playing well.

The Blues have made an encouraging start to life under the new Chelsea manager after his appointment as Guus Hiddink’s successor.

The west London side won their opening three Premier League games under the Italian thanks to victories over West Ham, Watford and Burnley.

However, Chelsea endured a winless September following defeats by Arsenal and Liverpool – and a stalemate with Swansea City in South Wales.

Conte opted to revert to a 3-4-3 formation after a 3-0 loss to title rivals Arsenal and the tactical change has paid dividends for the Blues.

Chelsea won seven successive Premier League games throughout October and November to hoist the west London side to the top of the table ahead of a busy December.

The Blues scored 19 times and kept six clean sheets in seven Premier League victories to leave Conte’s men as joint-favourites to win the title this season.

They then beat Manchester City 3-1 at The Etihad on Saturday to keep their place at the top of the table.

Writing in his Daily Star column, Merson explained why he considers Chelsea to be a top side.

“Chelsea have also been flying since Antonio Conte went with three at the back – but they are also producing those big champagne moments in games,” said Merson.

“Look what happened against Tottenham. They were under the cosh and then Pedro curls one into the top corner and completely changes the game.

“Chelsea have top drawer, quality players who can do that. Players who can turn a game when their team isn’t playing well.

“It’s the mark of a top team.”

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