CHELSEA will go for the Champions League instead of the Premier League this season.
That’s the view of pundit Paul Merson.
Antonio Conte guided the Blues to the title last time out but has Champions League football to think about this campaign.
And former Arsenal star Merson says Chelsea will focus on European football after playing last season without it.
“I think they might go for the Champions League more than the league,” Merson told Sky Sports.
“They’ve won the Premier League two out of the last three seasons, but they haven’t won the Champions League for a while and Antonio Conte hasn’t even got close, so I think he’ll want to prove something there.
“I think they’ll miss Diego Costa, especially as Alvaro Morata is settling in initially. They’ve got N’Golo Kante and Tiemoue Bakayoko in midfield but I think he needs Cesc Fabregas in there to make things happen.”
However, Merson reckons Manchester City’s spending could be a problem for Chelsea’s hopes of retaining the title, with the pundit backing the Blues to finish second.
“Well the record is against them in terms of defending the Premier League title and it gets harder and harder to defend it with clubs like City spending ridiculous money,” he added.
“It’s a lot easier to get to the top than stay there. We saw City win the title and we thought they’d dominate, but they didn’t strengthen.
“I think you need to sign four or five quality players to stay up there, especially given they only played one game a week last season.
“I think they’ll finish second and have a great Champions League campaign. I think they’ll go the furthest in the competition out of the English side because they’ll go away and get clean sheets.
“I’m not sure the other sides can do that. They’re by far the most suited to the Champions League format.”