Paul Merson states his prediction for Stoke v Chelsea

Paul Merson looks ahead to Chelsea's clash with Stoke at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday

antonio conte
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte Photo: The Sport Review

Paul Merson is backing Chelsea to beat Stoke 3-1 in their Premier League clash at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Antonio Conte’s men are aiming to return to winning ways in the Premier League after they were held to a battling goalless draw by Arsenal in their most recent outing last Sunday.

Chelsea have made a strong start to the new season and are currently in third place in the table heading into this weekend’s round of games as Conte’s side look to defend their title.

Eden Hazard will be hoping to make his first Premier League start of the season for the west London side against the Potters as he looks to help the Blues claim the three points against Mark Hughes’ men.

And former Arsenal star Merson is fully expecting to see Chelsea claim victory, even though Stoke have got positive results against the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United at home so far this season.

Writing in his column for Sky Sports, Merson said: “Chelsea were poor against Arsenal – bar the Pedro chance they didn’t create much – and it just highlighted how much they miss a fully-fit Eden Hazard.

“This is a match they have to win because they cannot give the two Manchester teams any more of a head-start. If they lose at Stoke and City win, that’s a six-point gap in September.

“I have been disappointed in Stoke this season, the Newcastle game was a bad result. But what really gets me is they lost 2-0 to Bristol City in the Carabao Cup. That’s a joke.

“Stoke aren’t going to challenge for the league and they aren’t getting relegated. It’s another mid-table season. So why not go for it in the cup? It was a shocker.”

Chelsea are aiming to defend their Premier League title this season after their impressive triumph under Conte last term.

The Blues will return to Champions League action on Wednesday night after Saturday’s clash when they take on Atletico Madrid in Spain.

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