Pundit Paul Merson has predicted that Southampton and Chelsea will share a 1-1 draw at the St Mary’s Stadium later today.

Both sides have been in excellent Premier League form of late, which should lead to an exciting and open encounter on the south coast.

The hosts drew 1-1 with Manchester City last weekend and eliminated Sunderland from the EFL Cup in midweek.

Although the Blues were knocked out of the cup by West Ham on Wednesday night, Antonio Conte’s men have won their last three Premier League games in a row, not conceding in the process.

Merson is predicting a close examination of Chelsea’s title aspirations on Sunday but feels that both teams will get a point in a 1-1 draw.

“Southampton have only lost one in their last 10 and this is a really difficult match for Chelsea,” he told Sky Sports.

“I’m surprised they went out of the EFL Cup in the manner they did. They’re playing once a week and should have highlighted that as a must-win competition. They missed a trick there.

“Claude Puel’s side will put up a real fight on Sunday because they are extremely difficult to break down and a threat going forward.

“I’m picking a draw but if Chelsea do manage to get a win at St Mary’s, you need to put them back up as contenders.”

Chelsea will hope to leapfrog Tottenham Hotspur back into the top four with a win against the Saints, while a victory for the hosts would see Southampton potentially move up to sixth place.

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