Mark Lawrenson states his prediction for Chelsea FC v Fulham

The Liverpool FC legend is backing Chelsea FC to return to winning ways against Fulham in Sunday's west London derby

Chelsea FC manager Maurizio Sarri Photo: The Sport Review

Mark Lawrenson is backing Chelsea FC to bounce back from their Wembley disappointment with a 2-0 victory over Fulham at Stamford Bridge in Sunday’s early kick-off.

The Blues appointed Maurizio Sarri as their new manager in the summer after Antonio Conte led Chelsea FC to a disappointing fifth-placed finish last term.

Chelsea FC managed to go unbeaten in their opening 12 Premier League fixtures to challenge Manchester City and Liverpool FC at the top of the table.

However, the Blues suffered a 3-1 loss to Tottenham Hotspur last weekend to drop down to fourth place in the Premier League standings.

Goals from Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Son Heung-min helped Spurs to hoist themselves above Chelsea FC and into third place.

Chelsea FC will have the opportunity to move past Tottenham for a couple of hours on Sunday when Fulham make the trip to Stamford Bridge for the west London derby.

The Cottagers are under the management of former Chelsea FC boss Claudio Ranieri, who took over the reins of the promoted side last month.

Former Liverpool FC defender Lawerenson is backing Chelsea FC to ease to a comfortable win over Fulham in the derby clash in Sunday’s early kick-off.

“New Fulham manager Claudio Ranieri goes back to Stamford Bridge, and he is sure to get a good reception,” Lawrenson told BBC Sport.

“Ranieri got a very good, and very important, win over Southampton last week in his first match in charge – but this is a much tougher assignment.

“Fulham’s biggest problem is that they have got such a soft centre and Ranieri is unlikely to be able to change that without bringing in some new personnel in the January transfer window.”

Lawrenson added: “As I predicted, Chelsea suffered their first defeat of the season when they went to Wembley to play Tottenham, but I don’t see it as a serious setback, or the start of them struggling.

“The Blues just put in a poor performance, against a very good Spurs side. If they play like they have showed they can on Sunday, then they will bounce back with a win.”

Chelsea FC were 4-0 winners against Greek side PAOK in the Europa League on Thursday night.

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