Paul Merson states his prediction for Crystal Palace v Chelsea

The Arsenal legend is backing Chelsea to ease to a 1-0 win against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon

Paul Merson is backing Chelsea to ease to a narrow win against Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon.

The defending Premier League champions will be looking to make a swift return to winning ways following a 1-0 loss to leaders Manchester City at Stamford Bridge last time out.

Title holders Chelsea are seven points behind current leaders Manchester City and Manchester United following their setback in west London before the international break.

Antonio Conte’s men have a brilliant chance to bounce back this weekend when the Blues make the short trip to the Premier League’s basement club Crystal Palace.

The Eagles have conceded 11 times in the last two games against Manchester City and Manchester United to leave the London side without a point in seven fixtures.

Chelsea will be without their top goal-scorer Alvaro Morata and reigning PFA player of the year N’Golo Kante at Selhurst Park this weekend.

Former Arsenal midfielder Merson is backing Chelsea to ease to a narrow win against Palace despite some big-name absentees.

“This is a hard game for Chelsea without N’Golo Kante or Alvaro Morata. They are two massive players and not having them will make a difference,” Merson told Sky Sports.

“But Chelsea still have a good defence and Palace don’t have Christian Benteke so it will be hard for them to score. Man City were on fire against Chelsea and still only scored once, and that was a ‘worldie’, so that is what Palace are up against.”

Chelsea have won the Premier League title in two of the past three seasons under Jose Mourinho and then Antonio Conte.

The Blues signed six players in the summer transfer window to improve their squad ahead of the new campaign.

MORE: Latest Chelsea news and views

MORE: Football transfer rumours and gossip

Gossip
Cesar Azpilicueta
Fabrizio Romano: FC Barcelona interested in signing two Chelsea FC stars
Gossip
Mikel Arteta
Arsenal interested in signing Real Sociedad forward Alexander Isak - report
Gary Neville
Gary Neville makes prediction about Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC this season
Gossip
Mikel Arteta
Arsenal eye move for Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the summer - report
Gossip
Mikel Arteta
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta 'desperate' to sign a striker this month - report
Gossip
Cesar Azpilicueta
Fabrizio Romano: FC Barcelona interested in signing two Chelsea FC stars
Gossip
Mikel Arteta
Arsenal interested in signing Real Sociedad forward Alexander Isak - report
Gary Neville
Gary Neville makes prediction about Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC this season
Gossip
Mikel Arteta
Arsenal eye move for Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the summer - report
Gossip
Mikel Arteta
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta 'desperate' to sign a striker this month - report
Slideshow
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