Liverpool and Arsenal set for three-game reckoning as Pep Guardiola ‘bold prediction’ may backfire

Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City all seem to be challenging for the Premier League title. The next few weeks are going to be instructive after a bold Pep Guardiola claim.

Guardiola is adamant Man City will win the Premier League for the fourth successive season, but his side lost after been outplayed by Aston Villa on Wednesday.

Unai Emery had never defeated a Guardiola team before but John McGinn ran rings around Manchester City and Erling Haaland barely had a kick.

After Arsenal and Liverpool had won earlier in the midweek round of games, perhaps the title picture is beginning to change.

Manchester City are not going anywhere, of course. Aston Villa might have moved ahead of the Cityzens in the League table but the chances of that being the case when it matters in May are extremely slim.

But there is more than a bit of hope emerging for those looking to win the league ahead of Manchester City. Even though Arsenal and Liverpool are not perfect sides, Guardiola’s team is offering enough slip-ups and dropped points to suggest they could be there for the taking this year.

The next few matches, though, will help determine a lot. Before Christmas, Liverpool will welcome Arsenal at Anfield. Before that, Arsenal will play Aston Villa and Brighton.

Those two games are set to be major tests for where Arsenal are currently sitting. Leading the league by the two points that separate them from Liverpool, the Gunners will face the exact test that Manchester City just failed by travelling to Villa Park on Saturday.

Roberto de Zerbi’s Brighton might not be quite the side they were last season this time around but they can always create problems.

Arsenal lost twice at the Emirates Stadium to the Seagulls last season (in the Premier League and the Carabao Cup) and that fixture will not be an easy one either.

It is no surprise that December will be vitally important in shaping what the title race looks like — it always is, except when the World Cup is played then — but the next two Arsenal games really will be instructive of just where they’re at.

Liverpool, meanwhile, can only continue to pick up points, facing Crystal Palace (A) and then Manchester United (H).

By Christmas, Manchester City will have a game in hand (an as-yet-unscheduled clash against Brentford) as they travel to play in the Club World Cup around that time. And that means there is a chance for either Liverpool or Arsenal to get ahead and put the points on the board.

Either way, we should know a lot more about whether Guardiola’s prediction is likely to come true or not by the time the Reds take on Arsenal in the FA Cup on January 7.

If Liverpool can win their next two games and avoid defeat against Arsenal, Klopp’s men could definitely be sitting on top of the league standings as they tuck into some turkey.



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