Manchester City WILL win a fourth Premier League title in five years this season, insist Joe Cole and Jermaine Jenas… as Joleon Lescott warns Chelsea they must keep pace with Pep Guardiola’s men and Liverpool following latest slip-up against Everton
- Manchester City maintained their lead at the top of the table by thrashing Leeds
- Liverpool closed the gap to one point again by beating Newcastle at Anfield
- Chelsea dropped points for the third time in four games in draw against Everton
- Joe Cole and Jermaine Jenas backed City to win a fourth title in five seasons
Joe Cole and Jermaine Jenas have backed Manchester City to defend their Premier League crown in a supposed three-way battle with Liverpool and Chelsea, with the former praising Pep Guardiola’s ‘sensational’ side.
City kept pace at the top of the league with a 7-0 hammering of Leeds United at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Liverpool then closed the gap once more to just a point after seeing off Newcastle 3-1 at Anfield on Thursday night, with the duo set to battle it out again next year for English football’s most cherished prize.
Joe Cole and Jermaine Jenas have backed Man City to defend their Premier League crown
City are one point ahead of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, who beat Newcastle on Thursday
But European champions Chelsea dropped points for the third time in four games across all competitions with a 1-1 home draw against Everton, leaving them three and four points respectively behind the Reds and City.
And former Chelsea star Cole – who had backed his ex-club to win their first Premier League title for the first time since the 2016-17 season – now believes the experience Guardiola’s men have in winning the title will see them lift the trophy for a fourth time in five seasons.
When asked on BT Sport who will win the league in May, Cole said: ‘I am gonna say Man City. That is the first time I have deviated from my [initial prediction of Chelsea].
‘The fact Chelsea have dropped these points… and when I watched Man City the other night [against Leeds], they were just sensational.
Chelsea however dropped points for the third time in four games in a draw against Everton
Cole believes City’s experience will see them through while Jenas also backed the current champions
‘One of the main things I am gonna say is that they have got the experience where they have done it before in recent years.’
Asked about Chelsea’s problems, the former Blues star believes having both N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic out has unbalanced Thomas Tuchel’s midfield.
Kante has struggled with a knee injury after coming off against Juventus in November, while Kovacic tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this week.
‘No, definitely [it is a wobble],’ Cole added. ‘It was a bump in the road but it has now become a little bit of a blip.
‘It is hard to pinpoint what’s gone wrong, because they have dealt with N’Golo Kante not being in the side for months on end previously and they have managed to [deal with it].
‘I think having Kovacic out as well… those two give you the legs in the middle of the park. Also [Ruben] Loftus-Cheek has been outstanding but maybe the balance has just shifted slightly in the midfield. It is a test for Tuchel now.’
A successful defence of their title would see a fourth crown in five season for Pep Guardiola
Jenas also tipped current champions City to defend their crown, but believes Jurgen Klopp’s side could be successful on the continent this season.
‘Chelsea are going to be back, it is a wobble,’ the ex-Tottenham midfielder said. ‘Liverpool are going to be strong in Europe and in the league definitely. I fancy Liverpool in Europe this year.’
Meanwhile, former City defender Joleon Lescott sent out a warning to Chelsea that they must keep pace with the top two if they want to harbour hopes of ending their five-year wait for the title in May.
‘I see them three teams running away with it but Chelsea need to be careful,’ Lescott said.
‘I’m seeing City on a eight game winning streak, Liverpool on a six, Chelsea’s best run is four games so they need to keep momentum and in the chasing pack.’
Joleon Lescott warned Chelsea they must keep pace with the Premier League’s top two
Cole believes the absences of N’Golo Kante (centre) and Mateo Kovacic (right) have unbalanced Chelsea’s midfield
Cole and Jenas also had their say on which sides will make the top four, with both not convinced Arsenal will finish there at the end of the season, despite leapfrogging West Ham into the top four by beating the Hammers on Wednesday night.
And while the former Newcastle star admitted he is also unconvinced by top four challengers Manchester United and Tottenham, ex-England midfielder Cole believes the Red Devils will occupy the final spot due to Cristiano Ronaldo’s goals.
Asked if he thinks Arsenal will finish in the top four, Jenas said: ‘No I don’t, but I have been really impressed with them. I am looking at the teams around [them] and I am not convinced by Man United either.’
Cole and Jenas do not think Arsenal will finish in the top four despite currently sitting in fourth
When asked whether his old club Spurs could finish in the top four, he added: ‘No, definitely not. That [the top four race] is going to be an interesting part come the end of the season. It is going to be wide open.
‘West Ham are going to be in the conversation, I think they will get themselves back into contention. What I like about Arsenal at the moment is defensively they look really good.
‘Once you have that stability in any side, with the quality they have, they can go and win any game. He [Mikel Arteta] needs to sort it out when they come to places like this [Anfield], he cannot seem to get that balance right at the moment.
‘But they are going to be in the conversation, and a lot closer to it than I expected them to be at the start of the season for that fourth spot.’
Cole backed Manchester United to finish in the top four due to the ‘Cristiano Ronaldo factor’
Meanwhile, Cole added: ‘I agree with JJ [Jenas]. I left Arsenal last night thinking “there is so much to be positive about”.
‘The goalkeeper [Aaron Ramsdale] is outstanding, Gabriel [Magalhaes] and [Benjamin] White have got it together in there [at centre-back], they have really nailed it.
‘I think they will be there or thereabouts, but I would just go with Manchester United, just because of the Ronaldo factor. He is such a genius and he guarantees you goals. In the big games he always turns up.’
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