Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville is adamant Manchester City will win the Premier League this season despite trailing Arsenal by eight points with nine matches remaining until the end of the season.
Arsenal will travel to Anfield on Sunday to face Liverpool in what many refer to as a true test of Arsenal’s title credentials this season.
The former Manchester United defender has dismissed Arsenal’s chances of becoming champions for the first time since 2004 and had earlier predicted midway through the season that his former club will finish in second place behind the defending champions.
Mikel Arteta’s men are on a seven game winning streak since losing to City in February, and Liverpool looks like the biggest test since that defeat, despite Jurgen Klopp’s men having a poor campaign this term.
Arteta was still an Arsenal player the last time the Gunners won at Anfield and are on a 12-match winless run dating back to 2012.
The unrepentant Neville is still sticking out his neck for Pep Guardiola’s men to lift the title at the end of the season.
“I’m still saying City will just win it because at some point they will get close enough to Arsenal and they’ll flex their muscles,” he said.
“If City are within four or five points when they play them that pressure will become unbearable for those Arsenal players. I know it because I’ve been there myself and I’ve been dragged over the line by senior players in the team.
“For the Premier League, it’s far better if Arsenal win it because City have won it four times in the last five years: [for] the idea this league is competitive, and the idea that teams we don’t think can win it at the start of the season [can win it]. No one thought Arsenal were going to win it. Everyone thought Man City or Liverpool.
“For Arsenal to win it would demonstrate what we like about the Premier League – that we think, even though it’s not been the case in the last five years, it’s a competitive league, that anyone can beat anyone.
“This would be the real proof of it if Mikel Arteta can go from outside the top four to winning the league. That would be an absolutely incredible story and we’ve got a hell of a five or six weeks to come. It’s all to play for in the top four, at the bottom and in the title race.”
Despite his stubbornness, Gary Neville says Arsenal will be crowned champions if they win in Merseyside.
“If Arsenal go to Anfield and win I’d say definitely it will be their title because the confidence from that will be unbelievable. If they lose at Anfield it then becomes a really tight race.”
“Our manager (Sir Alex Ferguson) would say to us if you’re playing Liverpool away at this time of year and you’re going for the title, and you win, you win the league. Quite often that proved to be the case.
“About two or three months ago, I thought Arsenal would finish 10 or 15 points behind Man City. That’s not going to be the case now, obviously. It’s 50-50 now. If Arsenal win at Liverpool, they definitely become favourites, but there’s still a long way to go. Arsenal have to go to City and Newcastle, and they’re going to be very difficult games.”