Mark Lawrenson states his prediction for Watford v Chelsea

The former Liverpool defender is backing Chelsea to make a swift return to winning ways at Watford on Monday night

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte Photo: The Sport Review

Mark Lawrenson is confident Chelsea will bounce back from their mid-week disappointment with a win at Watford on Monday night.

The defending Premier League champions suffered a surprise 3-0 loss to Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge mid-week to slip down to fourth place in the table.

The Blues are a mere two points ahead of fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur in the race to secure a place in the Champions League next season.

Antonio Conte’s side have only managed to win one of their last four games in the Premier League to heap pressure on the Italian coach.

Watford have been sucked into the relegation battle following three losses and two stalemates in their last five top-flight games.

Former Liverpool defender Lawrenson is backing Chelsea to respond to their mid-week setback with a 2-0 win against the Hornets on Monday night.

“Chelsea were poor in their defeat by Bournemouth in midweek and we never really saw a performance as bad as that from them under Antonio Conte last season, even before he found a shape that worked,” Lawrenson told BBC Sport.

“Just as I am expecting Manchester United to respond under Jose Mourinho, I think Conte will rally the troops and probably tell them a few home truths.

“New Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud is available and I expect him to feature at some point. I also expect the Blues to win.”

Chelsea FC signed England international Ross Barkley in a £15m deal from Premier League rivals Everton last month.

The Blues snapped up Brazilian defender Emerson Palmieri in a deal from AS Roma to bolster their wing-back options.

The west London side completed a £21m deal for Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud on transfer deadline day.

The defending champions will take on La Liga giants Barcelona in the Champions League round of 16 next month.

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