Manchester City and Liverpool have been battling each other since the seas of 2018-19, when the current Premier League champions crossed the line by just one point.
This was the second of Pep Guardiola’s Premier League titles as manager, the first with a record 1.00 points, with Manchester United in second place but 19 points behind.
Over the previous four seasons, it has often been seen that the title-defining matches have always been Manchester City vs Liverpool, with both Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp adding to the build-up in their own unique way.
Former Arsenal and City defender Bacary Sagna thinks Liverpool have already given themselves a problem with the slow start and believes his former clubs will compete for this year’s title.
In an interview with Betway, Sagna outlined his reasoning behind his Arsenal prediction.
“I think Arsenal can be Manchester City’s main competitor for the Premier League title, who of course remain the strong favourites.
“I don’t see any other team that can challenge them. Of course you can’t rule out Liverpool completely, but they lost Sadio Mane and don’t look the same without him.”
Sagna was keen to point out the reasoning behind Liverpool not looking the same without the Senegalese international after his move to Bayern Munich.
“[Sadio] Mane and Mohamed Salah complemented each other so well and were so consistent that I’m not sure if Liverpool will be feared in the same way this season.
“I think teams will just pay as they want to play instead of just playing defensively to stop Mane and Salah. With points already dropped, it will be difficult for Liverpool to catch up.”
“Now that Arsenal have made a great start, it feels like they could be the main contenders to fight for the Premier League title with this incredible Manchester City.”
Sagna was part of the Arsene Wengers 2014 FA Cup winning team, playing over 280 games for the Gunners before moving to the Etihad Stadium, where he spent three seasons making 86 appearances and winning the League Cup in 2016.
The ex-France international has been impressed by the progress and believes his former team-mate Mikel Arteta deserves credit for how he is changing Arsenal.
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“I think it’s a continuation of what happened last season. We can see the club trying to build a team based on specific qualities when they recruit players and it works really well for them.” Sagna continued.
“They brought in quality players last year. I wasn’t convinced at first because of the age of some and the lack of experience, but it worked out perfectly. I feel like last year was just a warm-up for what to expect over the next one year or two.
“It’s a solid team, a very well structured team. We need Mikel [Arteta] great honour, because he took the criticism on his back and always put the team first.”
Sagna also spoke about his former Manchester City team-mate Gabriel Jesus and his ability to thrive at Arsenal. The £50m summer tally has already contributed this season with three goals and three assists.
‘Gabby is perfect for Arsenal’ said Sagna. “He is very smart on the pitch, he knows where to press, he is always there to put pressure on you.
“As a defender [Jesus] is annoying to play against because he has skills, he is powerful and for the purpose he is clinical.
“I think he’s the kind of player who has to play regularly to perform. It was a bit difficult for him at Manchester City because he couldn’t produce what he could every weekend.”
“I was like that. I had to play regularly to be perfect physically and mentally.
“[Jesus] suits Arsenal well because it is a team that uses young players and has the right mentality for him. It’s a beautiful environment.”