Who do you think will win the title race?
“I see two runners now. I see Man City and Arsenal. I think they’ll be there, very close, but I would still go with Man City. But I’ve been really impressed with Arsenal. I’ve enjoyed watching Arsenal play. They’ve got two fantastic wingers, Saka and Martinelli. Jesus up front has been absolutely brilliant. What a great signing he was. They look a good all-round team. I love watching them. They’re exciting to watch. I started the season thinking Tottenham would have every chance this year of being very close. The more I’m seeing them, I’m not so sure now. They’ve been a little bit disappointing in the big games for me and I thought they would win a trophy this year, but now suddenly they’ve only really got one trophy to play for and that’s the FA Cup. Then, Man United miles away still from pushing Man City. Chelsea, nowhere near this season of pushing Man City and Liverpool the same. So, there’s only two runners for me and Arsenal are the only challengers to Man City.”
Can we expect more from Graham Potter and Chelsea?
“I don’t know really, what more, unless he (Potter) gets new players in, he hasn’t got a magic wand. They sacked a top manager very quickly. He’s got a tough job on his hands here. You know, it ain’t easy. He’s following a lot of very, very successful teams and managers. Over the years they have won Championships. Chelsea expect to win the Premier League. They’re Champions League winners, they’re Premier League winners. They win trophies every year. They’re not going to be happy struggling to make the top four, winning nothing. So he’s got a tough job on his hands. I hope he does well. I’d love to see English managers, British managers doing well, but it’s not going to be easy.”
What have you made of the league’s current top scorer Erling Haaland?
“Yeah, he (Haaland) looks like he’s got everything. He’s a great finisher. Strong in the air, powerful, quick, complete all round centre-forward. Centre-halves would have to go and have a battle with him, you know, I mean, he’s not unstoppable. We mustn’t get carried away. No disrespect. We’ve still got a way to go to, you know, he’s not Lionel Messi and he’s not Ronaldo in their prime. He’s still got a long way to go, but he’s a great finisher and he is a powerhouse and he’s a top player and the big advantage he’s got as well is that he’s playing in an incredible team. They just keep making chances for you every week, they make dozens of chances for strikers.”
Can Liverpool secure a top-four spot?
“I think they (Liverpool) might do. I don’t think Newcastle will. Newcastle will do very well, but I think they’ll finish 6th or 7th, maybe even fifth. But I don’t see him (Howe) making the four. But I do think that Liverpool can still make the four because Tottenham are not going great. The top two I think, will pick itself. Arsenal, Man City and then it’s a tossup. Man United, you know, not in great form and inconsistent. Chelsea the same. So, Liverpool I think they could possibly get in the top four just about, yes.”
How far do you think Newcastle can go?
“Well, I think they (Newcastle) can finish in the top seven and they could well make the top six this year I don’t see them finishing in the top four, but I do think and again, it depends on what he spends in the transfer window. They’ve got unlimited money, t’s only a matter of time before they’re a top-four team. They’ve got so much money to spend and at the end of the day if you’ve got the money and can buy the top players, you can. That’s how the game works. Blackburn won the league with Jack Walker, he went out and bought Shearer and people like that and Sutton and bought top players in. If Newcastle go out and spend big again in the window, then in the next three or four years they will be challenging for the title because the spending power they have, will make that happen, obviously.”
Who do you think is under threat of relegation?
“Obviously Bournemouth, although they’ve done well. They’ve been so unlucky the last couple of games. Should have beat Tottenham. I was at the game, two up, got beat 3-2, 3-1 up at Leads, got beat four three, but Gary O’Neill is doing a great job there and they’ve got a decent squad but it’s going to be tough for them. But there are other teams down there as well. I think Brentford are getting sucked into it this year. I worry about Everton, I look at their squad, I don’t like the look of it. I think Frank’s got a job on his hands here. Notts Forest, they seem hot and cold. You look at them one week, you’re thinking they’re certain to finish bottom and suddenly go and beat Liverpool and they beat Tottenham in the League Cup when Tottenham have a full team out. So, it’s going to be very tight. Southampton are in trouble, just brought a new manager in, but there’s a few teams down there, I think it’s going to be very close this year down the bottom.”
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