Paul Merson fears only two teams are capable of challenging Manchester City for the Premier League title this season following the champions’ flying start to the new campaign.
Pep Guardiola’s relentless winning machine swept the board last term and appear to be in no mood to surrender any of the trophies they won during their treble season having hit the ground running both at home and in Europe.
City were forced to come from behind last night but ultimately stretched their winning run to six matches in all competitions with a 3-1 victory over Crvena Zvezda thanks to a second half brace from the in-form Julian Alvarez and another goal from midfield linchpin Rodri.
Across town, in the red half of Manchester, Erik ten Hag can only look enviously athis rivals following United’s chaotic start which has seen them lose three of their opening five matches.
Any hope of ending a decade-long wait to be crowned champions is already up in smoke according to Merson who believes only Arsenal and Liverpool represent a threat to rampant City.
‘Liverpool and Arsenal are the only contenders for Manchester City this season,’ Merson told Sky Sports.
‘Liverpool were poor against Wolves first half, really poor. But they came out in the second half and blew Wolves away.
‘The problem is you can’t be doing that against the better teams. You don’t want to be going to the Emirates or the Etihad and playing like that, the game would be all over in the first half.
‘You’ve just got to stick with Man City for as long as you can. Every game that goes by, you have to make sure you’re three points away from them, tops.
‘For example, Manchester United are already nine points behind. They’re finished. Done. They can’t win the league – because it’s Man City. If it’s any other team you can go, ‘oh if you put a run together, you never know.’ But City are not losing four or five games.
‘The title race used to start in December and January – and it was about who had the best run after that. Now Man City have blown it out of the water. You can’t fall behind.’