PAUL MERSON believes Chelsea will continue their winning run in fine style against Stoke on New Year’s Eve.
Antonio Conte’s Premier League leaders have racked up a club-record 12 wins on the spin.
Diego Costa and N’Golo Kante are available again after missing the win against Bournemouth on Boxing Day through suspension.
And former Arsenal star Merson is backing the Blues to beat Mark Hughes’ Potters 3-0.
He told Sky Sports: “I think Chelsea have been different class – and were brilliant against Bournemouth again.
“To do what they’ve done, I think a 13th straight win is definitely on the cards.
“Stoke have to get lucky.
“They took the lead against Liverpool and Joe Allen should have scored really, and if he does then it’s 2-0 – but Liverpool go down the other end and it’s 1-1.
“So they need luck and get the ball into the box.
“I don’t think Liverpool would be able to live with Peter Crouch but they have to get far enough up the pitch to pose them problems.”
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte orders Roman Abramovich: Sign this Premier League striker
CHELSEA boss Antonio Conte wants to bring Swansea striker Fernando Llorente to Stamford Bridge next month, according to reports.
The Blues sit top of the Premier League going into the new year with Antonio Conte’s men currently on a 12-game winning streak.
Goals have not been a problem with Diego Costa firing on all cylinders, leading the way in the race for the Golden Boot with 13 league strikes to his name.
But Conte wants to add firepower to his attacking options and he believes Llorente would be an ideal addition to his Chelsea squad.
Spanish publication AS claim Conte has instructed owner Roman Abramovich to make a move for the Swansea hitman.
Conte knows Llorente well from their time together in Juventus, winning the Serie A together, and is a huge admirer of the experienced forward.
Llorente only completed a move from Sevilla to the Premier League in the summer and has so far been one of the standout performers in a struggling Swansea side.
The 31-year-old has netted six times this term, including netting vital goals against Crystal Palace and Sunderland as the Welsh outfit look to avoid the drop.
Swansea are unlikely to want to part with the Spaniard but that will not stop Chelsea registering their interest.
Conte signed Michy Batshuayi in the summer from Marseille but the talented forward is yet to hit the ground running in west London.
While Conte is thought to be a fan of the Belgian, he chose Eden Hazard to lead the line in Chelsea’s 3-0 win over Bournemouth on Boxing Day with Costa suspended.
Chelsea plot raid for 24-year-old Serie A wantaway star
Chelsea have reportedly emerged as the frontrunners to land Netherlands international defender Stefan de Vrij, according to Il Tempo (via The Sun).
The Premier League side, who currently sit top of the English top-flight standings having won their last 12 league outings in a row, have been linked with luring the Lazio wantaway star to Stamford Bridge during the forthcoming January transfer window.
The 24-year-old, who has 30 international caps for his country, has scored one goal in 11 league appearances for the Serie A outfit so far this season.
De Vrij, who began his career in his homeland with Eredivisie club Feyenoord, has reportedly told the Italian side that he is ready to leave the Stadio Olimpico.
However, the report suggests Antonio Conte’s Blues will face competition from former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti, who is now in charge of Bundesliga giants FC Bayern Munich, as they are also after the Dutchman’s signature.