The Sky Sports pundits kicked off the new season with the first edition of Monday Night Football and finished the show by forecasting their picks for the campaign ahead
Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville have both backed Manchester City to retain the Premier League title this season – but disagreed on the order of the chasing pack.
City got off to a bad start with a shock defeat at Tottenham on the opening weekend but it was a case of normal service resumed on Saturday as they thumped Norwich to get back to winning ways.
Their cause could be boosted further if they manage to prise Harry Kane from Spurs before next week’s transfer deadline, which would leave them as standout candidates for the trophy.
Asked whether their success hinged on Kane’s arrival, Neville replied: “No I still think you’ve got to go with Man City at this point just because of what they’ve done over the last few years.
“There is that question of Aguero going and not being replaced but they have got lots of contributors to goals. do they necessarily need a 25-30 goal striker?”
Behind City, both pundits have tipped Thomas Tuchel to build on the Champions League and Super Cup success in his Chelsea tenure so far to lead the Blues into second spot, aided by the goals of Romelu Lukaku.
Neville even feels the Belgian could collect the Golden Boot award at the end of the campaign, though conceded the likes of Kane and Mohamed Salah – who got Carragher’s vote – could thwart him.
After the Blues came a natural disagreement, with Neville backing his old club Manchester United to edge out Carragher’s Liverpool into third, while his colleague believes Jurgen Klopp’s side will come home ahead of their rivals.
“I just think United have got a better squad,” Neville said. “Liverpool have got a better first XI – no doubt. But you know with Liverpool what a couple of injuries could do, that drop in level. United could lose two players in each position and I still think they’d be really strong.”
Despite his insistence that United should be challenging for the title, Carragher actually named the Red Devils as his pick for the season’s underachievers.
“I’ve said it before that the managers of the other clubs have got the pedigree at top clubs, of winning Champions Leagues. I think those three managers make a big difference.
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“And I think Liverpool maybe are going under the radar. A lot of people – maybe myself included – have actually forgotten how good they were and it’s now back.
“They’ve got Salah and Mane back fresh and I think a lot of Liverpool supporters are actually happy that no one is tipping them to push City when you consider how much this team has achieved over the last few years.”
While Carragher feels United will come up short, Neville’s prediction is already coming true as he expects Arsenal to finish the campaign disappointed.
Title: Man City
Top four: Chelsea, Liverpool, Man Utd
Underachievers: Man Utd
Top scorer: Mohamed Salah
Young talent: Emile Smith Rowe
One to watch: Jadon Sancho
Title: Man City
Top four: Chelsea, Man Utd, Liverpool
Top scorer: Romelu Lukaku
Young talent: Kai Havertz
One to watch: Raphael Varane