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Former Arsenal playmaker Paul Merson believes next season’s Premier League title race will be contested between four teams.
Merson has claimed that only four clubs are in a position to challenge for the league crown, but neither the Gunners nor Tottenham are included in that bracket.
He attests that the top four clubs from each of the last two seasons – Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool – are the only teams who harbour realistic title hopes.
City have won three of the last four Premier League titles with only Liverpool breaking that domestic domination in 2020, while Chelsea are the current Champions League holders and United finished second last time out.
Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has made his predictions for this season's Premier League
Merson told Sportskeeda : “As we edge closer to the 2021-22 edition of the Premier League, I strongly believe this could be one of the tightest ones in recent memory.
“Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea can all win the title – that’s a four-way battle for the Premier League crown and I don’t expect any of them to run away with it by a margin of double-digit points.
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“In my opinion, Chelsea need a forward. I don’t know what the deal is with Erling Haaland, but they need someone who can score 20 Premier League goals a season.
“Timo Werner is a different kind of player – he’s a willing runner who works hard for the team and is very unselfish.
“However, he doesn’t strike me as someone who can score 20 goals a season, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens there.
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Pep Guardiola has won three Premier League titles with Man City
(Image: Getty Images)
“Manchester United have already signed Jadon Sancho, but they could do with another midfielder.
“Regardless of what happens in the transfer market, as I said before, I expect a really close Premier League title race.
“Another important thing to keep an eye on is when the big players return to their respective sides after their international commitments.
“Many Premier League stars represented their countries at Euro 2020 and Copa America this summer, so they could well miss a few games at the start of the new season.”
The Sky Sports pundit added that there were another group of four clubs who were behind this group and would compete for the remaining European spots but he believes a top four finish may be beyond them.
He added: “There’s a big gulf of class between the top four sides in the Premier League and the rest, so the title race could boil down to who wins the mini-league between Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea.
“There is another mini-league involving Arsenal, Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton that could decide the rest of the European spots.
“I can’t see any of the bottom half teams getting points from the top four in the 2021-22 Premier League season – I’d be really shocked if that were to be the case.
“We could witness one of the closest title races in ages, but I expect Manchester City to come out on top this season.”
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