Football pundit and Arsenal legend Paul Merson has tipped Manchester City to win the Premier League title and expects Kevin De Bruyne to play a key role.
The Premier League title race has become the most exciting among the top five leagues in Europe following Liverpool’s sensational comeback that has left them only a point adrift of league leaders Manchester City.
Writing in his column for Daily Star, Paul Merson has offered his thoughts on the title race. The revered football pundit and Arsenal legend has predicted Manchester City to win the league title but has suggested that Kevin De Bruyne’s form could be key in helping them doing so.
“Manchester City win the league by double digits if they beat Liverpool at the Etihad – but it all depends on one player.”
“If midfielder Kevin De Bruyne plays well until the end of the season I think City win it comfortably because the Belgium international just knits everything together. He makes everybody in the at City side play in my opinion. I think Pep Guardiola has a big role to play too with the team he picks,” Merson wrote in his column.
With just three assists in 22 league matches, it has not been the best of seasons for De Bruyne. But the Belgian has still proven to be the difference-maker in crunch games, notably bagging a brace and an assist in the 4-1 win over Manchester United earlier this month.
Merson urged Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola to make more substitutions in order to make better use of his quality squad. Adding to his column, the Arsenal legend wrote, “City were dominating Crystal Palace the other night but he never makes a substitution. Not one sub! And they have a gifted squad there.”
“Surely you bring on fresh legs to take on tired defenders who have spent all game up against it, and you finish them off. But he didn’t, and they drew the game and opened the door for Liverpool to make a real race of it again. Sometimes I just think Pep makes it too complicated for himself. It was the same in the Champions League final and the team he picked then,” he added.
Merson, who was an ex-Arsenal player during his playing days, offered insights on Liverpool’s situation, stating the Reds may not win the league if they continue performing like they did against Arsenal.
“Liverpool were fortunate at Arsenal. If they play like that when they go to the Etihad the game will be over at half time. They have been a bit sloppy lately and I don’t think you can afford to be sloppy against City, who aren’t playing as badly as people think they are. It’s a shame that game hasn’t been put back to later in the season because it will be the title decider,” the Arsenal legend said.
Merson went on to predict Manchester City as the Premier League champions, stating, “I just still see City winning the championship. They are battering teams. It’s not like they are playing and not looking like scoring in a month of Sundays.”
“They are absolutely dominating teams, camped out in their half creating chances and pinning them back. We’ve seen it too many times. They just have to make sure they don’t lose to Liverpool, and then I don’t see who beats them.”
A potential triumph for Manchester City could see them win their fourth league title in five seasons. It will be quite the feat, given how competitive the Premier League has become lately. But with Liverpool breathing down their necks, it will be interesting to see how the title race shapes up over the coming weeks.