Gary Neville has tipped Arsenal to finish below Manchester City and even Manchester United in third place, despite the Gunners’ big lead at the Premier League summit.
Arsenal maintained their great form with a 2-0 win over north London rivals Tottenham on Sunday to move eight points clear of City, who lost 2-1 to United on Saturday.
That is Arsenal’s biggest lead in the competition after the same number of games as the side below them since the final day of the 2003-04 season, when they last won the title.
Man United and Newcastle United are a point further back, meanwhile, with the latter having played a game more than the rest of the top four.
But while many are now backing Arsenal to end their long wait for top-flight glory, United legend Neville is expecting them to finish as low as third.
Asked if Arsenal will win the Premier League, Neville said on his Sky Sports podcast: “No. But I said Leicester City wouldn’t win the league…
“I don’t think they will win the league. Manchester City will win the league, and I think Man Utd will finish second, and I know that will annoy Arsenal fans.
“I’d rather Arsenal win the league than Man City. I think it would be absolutely sensational for the Premier League.
“I think about watching the Premier League, we’ve seen City sweep up, apart from Liverpool, over the past five years.
“To think Arsenal could come and win it, it adds to our league, it makes our league great. I’d love Man Utd to win it, but I don’t think that’s going to happen this season.”
Arsenal’s return of 47 points after 18 matches is the fourth most of any side at this stage of a Premier League season, having dropped just seven points all campaign.
However, Neville has backed City to string together a run of victories as they so often have – with Arsenal still to play home and away – and win a fifth title in six seasons.
“The reality of it is, I think at some point Man City will hit a run. Once they do, they’ve got to play Arsenal twice,” Neville said.
“At some point, there will be a very difficult period for Arsenal this season. Is it conceivable that Arsenal are going to continue as they are? I don’t think it is.
“Could they draw two and lose one in a three-game period, and if they did that, their lead is gone, and the pack is up with them? That’s what I think is going to happen.
“We’ll see a traditional Premier League season where a team goes out, the pacemaker, and then they’ll get drawn back in a little bit.
“But I still think that this season is going to be far better for Arsenal than I ever imagined it would be.”
Arsenal are set to face United in their next league outing on Sunday, while City host Tottenham on Thursday and Wolves on Sunday.
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