Paul Merson states his prediction for Chelsea FC v Southampton in FA Cup

The Arsenal legend is backing Chelsea FC to beat Southampton in the FA Cup semi-final on Sunday

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte Photo: Screen grab

Paul Merson is tipping Chelsea FC to beat Southampton in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Sunday afternoon.

Chelsea FC have struggled in Antonio Conte’s second season in charge at the west London outfit despite winning the Premier League title with two games to spare last season.

The Blues are in fifth place in the Premier League table and five points adrift of Tottenham Hotspur, who occupied the final Champions League qualification spot.

The west London side lost 4-1 to Spanish giants FC Barcelona in the Champions League round of 16, while Chelsea FC suffered a defeat at Arsenal in the League Cup last four.

The Blues will face 18th-placed Southampton in the Premier League table in the FA Cup semi-final as the Saints continue to battle relegation.

The Saints squandered a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 to Chelsea FC in the Premier League at St Mary’s last weekend.

Former Arsenal star Merson is backing Chelsea FC to beat Mark Hughes’ men and secure their place in the FA Cup final.

“It’s harder for Southampton to win the FA Cup now than it would be at the third-round stage. Seriously,” Merson told Sky Sports.

“You could win this FA Cup by not playing a strong side, but now they’ve got to beat two top teams – and they’re in the bottom three.

“They could near-on be relegated by the time they’re playing on Sunday. You have to go for it at Wembley, you might as well. If someone said you’ll get relegated but win the FA Cup I think the fans would take that. It’s not nice watching a team every week that don’t win, so why not give it a go.

“I think Southampton can bounce back if they go down, but I might be wrong. I’m going to have to go for a Chelsea win.”

Chelsea FC lost 2-1 to Arsenal in the FA Cup final at Wembley last season to miss out on the double after the Blues finished seven points ahead of Tottenham Hotspur in the title race.

MORE: Latest Chelsea news and views

MORE: Football transfer rumours and gossip

Gary Neville
Gary Neville reacts to late VAR drama in Liverpool FC’s 1-1 draw at Brighton
Ian Wright
Ian Wright states his prediction for Chelsea FC v Tottenham
Michael Owen
Michael Owen predicts the winner of Chelsea FC v Tottenham
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Photo: Screen grab)
Dimitar Berbatov urges Real Madrid star Sergio Ramos to consider Man United move
Bruno Fernandes
Dimitar Berbatov names Bruno Fernandes’ main weakness at Man United
Gary Neville
Gary Neville reacts to late VAR drama in Liverpool FC’s 1-1 draw at Brighton
Ian Wright
Ian Wright states his prediction for Chelsea FC v Tottenham
Michael Owen
Michael Owen predicts the winner of Chelsea FC v Tottenham
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Photo: Screen grab)
Dimitar Berbatov urges Real Madrid star Sergio Ramos to consider Man United move
Bruno Fernandes
Dimitar Berbatov names Bruno Fernandes’ main weakness at Man United
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