Pep Guardiola makes shock Newcastle United Premier League title prediction
The Manchester City boss has named Newcastle United a Premier League title rival.
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The reigning champions currently sit in second place in the table, two points adrift of leaders Arsenal who have made a remarkable start to the season by losing just one of their opening 12 games. Indeed, only the top two and Eddie Howe’s Newcastle can boast of suffering just a solitary loss during the first three months of the campaign.
Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and Chelsea make up the current top six with just over a week to go until the Premier League takes a break as attention turns towards the World Cup Finals in Qatar during November and December. Ahead of his side’s home game with Fulham, Guardiola was asked to name the clubs he sees as in contention to become champions at the end of the season - and he raised a few eyebrows with his response.
He said: “I would say Arsenal, Man City, Chelsea, Newcastle, Tottenham, United and Liverpool. It think these teams can fight for the title.
When asked about the inclusion of a Liverpool side that have been hit by inconsistency this season, the City boss answered: “Because they have same manager and squad who were able make 17 victories in a row, 18 victories in a row in the past why are they not able to do it again. Nobody knows what is going to happen after the World Cup, there’s the transfer window, players coming back.
“This is my feeling. The first candidate at the moment is Arsenal. Why? Because they’re top of the league and the rest are close. So let’s see how we finish these next two games [before the World Cup] but I think many of these teams deserve to be there, we see how they play all of then, how teams like United, Newcastle and Tottenham have taken a step forward. They can be there – no doubts.”
The inclusion of the Magpies will come as a surprise, despite the fact Eddie Howe’s men head into the weekend fixtures sat in a top four place after a remarkable start to the season. It is easy to forget it is just 12 months since United were sat in the midst of a relegation battle after an abysmal start to the season under former manager Steve Bruce.
Guardiola got a first-hand view of the threat Howe’s new-look Magpies possess when his side were forced to battle back from two goals down to secure a point on their visit to St James Park earlier this season. The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager insisted United are part of the title race and explained his reasons for his stance.
He said: “Because they have incredible physicality to the way they play and they are playing one game a week, they are not playing in Europe and when this happens that’s a big advantage when you arrive in the last months with energy. They have incredible energy and imagine how they are after one week.
“They have a good manager, top class players, they have experienced ones, physicality in the middle, box to box transitions, the way they make the intensity without the ball is so impressive, the press high and they go with real rhythm and I imagine they are going to stay there for a long time.”