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Paul Merson Says: Manchester City will be hard to stop this season

The Magic Man was also impressed by Mason Mount and Kevin De Bruyne's displays this weekend

Raheem Sterling celebrates making it 1-0
Image: Despite not winning on Saturday, Merse was still impressed by City's display

In his weekly column, Paul Merson argues that there is nothing wrong with Manchester City, Chelsea may struggle to qualify for next season's Champions League and Norwich striker Teemu Pukki is a class apart.

After Pep Guardiola's side dropped points in the Premier League for the first time since January following Saturday's 2-2 draw with Tottenham, there were some suggestions of a crack in the champions' armour - but Merse is having none of it, claiming City may go unbeaten this season.

Meanwhile, new Chelsea manager Frank Lampard is still awaiting his first competitive victory in charge of the west London club after Sunday's 1-1 draw with Leicester at Stamford Bridge - and the Sky Sports pundit believes Chelsea's lack of a top-class striker may affect their chances of a top-four finish this campaign.

Put it this way, if Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had been playing up front for Chelsea, they would have had six points
Paul Merson

Speaking of world-class centre-forwards, Norwich frontman Teemu Pukki's hat-trick against West Ham on Saturday has the Magic Man purring about the Finland international.

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You cannot see anyone beating City

Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City
Image: De Bruyne's return from injury has just made City even stronger, says Merse

Let's be honest, it is not like Spurs went there and ripped Man City apart! They could play 75 per cent as good as they did on Saturday and still win the league comfortably!

It was an absolute battering! And all City will be taking away from that is: there is nothing wrong with us.

If I were Tottenham, they just got over the line against Villa and let's be honest, they got rinsed on Saturday. And if that had ended up six or seven, Tottenham would not have complained, they could not have moaned.

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City do not have to tweak anything if they carry on playing like that. You cannot see anybody beating them.

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Highlights from Manchester City's draw against Tottenham in the Premier League

Last season, Kevin De Bruyne did not play a lot and they still won the league and now you are talking about a player who would walk into every other team in the league, if not the world.

There is nothing wrong with City, they played very, very well. And if they keep on playing like that, teams will not be able to live with them. And that was against one of the top three teams in the country, a title contender and a very good team themselves, not against a team from the bottom half.

And they were making Tottenham look very, very average on Saturday and believe me, they are not an average team, they are a very good side.

And that just puts it in perspective…

I worry about Chelsea…

Frank Lampard, Jody Morris
Image: Lampard (left) is being hindered by a lack of a top-class striker

The longer the game went on and they did not get the second goal - after what happened on Wednesday night with extra time and the journey - it was always going to be difficult.

It is not Frank's fault they have a transfer embargo, that is how he got the job - if Chelsea did not have one, they would have gone out and bought a forward.

At the moment, firepower wise, I just do not think they have a cutting edge. A team who dominated those games against Man Utd and Leicester would have won them quite comfortably.

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Highlights from Chelsea's draw against Leicester in the Premier League

But they just have to live with the fact they will not blow teams away as they do not have that prolific goal scorer. Put it this way: if Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had been playing up front for Chelsea, they would have had six points.

And that is why I worry about Chelsea getting in the top four as when you look at who they are competing with for the top four, it is that firepower that separates them.

It is just two games gone, but they did tire in the second half - they just needed that second goal and if they get that, they run away with it.

Mason Mount goal celeb, Chelsea vs Leicester, Premier League
Image: Young Chelsea midfielder Mount caught Merson's eye at the Bridge

Mason Mount is in the team because he can play and carry his own, not because he is a nice lad and Frank likes him. He has done great and is only going to get better.

Pukki's movement is different class

Teemu Pukki with the match ball at full-time
Image: Pukki's movement off the ball has impressed Merson

I watched him play against Liverpool and I thought: He is going to score goals. His movement is absolutely different class.

The way they play - attack, attack, attack - he will score goals. And I will now be shocked if they do not stay up. The reason I say that is because he will score 20-25 goals and how many teams have ever gone down with a player who scored that many goals?

I watched them play last season and worried for them in the Premier League - they were great on the eye, but terrible at the back. And I thought: I hope they do not come up and play 4-5-1.

And they have not, they have stuck by their guns, they went to Liverpool and had a go, created chances, and they easily beat Newcastle. And fair play to them.

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Highlights from Norwich's 3-1 win against Newcastle in the Premier League

But when you have movement like that - 1) you have to have someone to find you, which they have, and 2) someone to put the ball in the back of the net, which they have as well.

I look at them and I look at Aston Villa and think - who is going to score their goals? If Pukki had been playing for them, they would have beaten Bournemouth on Saturday.

And that is it, you need firepower to stay up.

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