Paul Merson fears Chelsea’s bid for Premier League glory could ultimately be undermined by a lack of defensive options.

Merson fears Chelsea could be short of defensive options as the season unfolds.

Thomas Tuchel has transformed the Blues since succeeding Frank Lampard back in January and turned Chelsea into one of the meanest teams in Europe.

Even reduced to 10 men at Anfield on Saturday, Chelsea comfortably coped with everything Liverpool could muster and claimed a highly creditable 1-1 draw that extended their impressive start to the new campaign.

Merson, however, believes Tuchel will live to regret the decision to allow Kurt Zouma to join West Ham, especially in the wake of the club’s failure to secure the signing of Jule Kounde from Sevilla.

Chelsea missed out of Jules Kounde transfer

‘I think they are massive challengers but letting Zouma go and not bringing anybody in – especially when they play three at the back – you’re going to play James as one of the three, when he’s more of a wing-back,’ Merson told Sky Sports News.

‘They have got cover, but if those players had to play nine, 10, 11, 12 games during the season all in one hit at that position it’s going to be a lot more difficult.

‘For me, surely they’d have let Zouma go on the strength of getting in Kounde, or they think Chalobah will be very good, and I think he will be good.

‘But it’s going to be hard. When we get into the nitty gritty of the Champions League that’s what Chelsea are going to be all about and in terms of winning the Premier League I think Zouma will be missed.’

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