Soccer Saturday pundits on who can challenge Manchester City for the Premier League

Pundits England XI to start at World Cup 2018
Image: Who have the Soccer Sunday pundits tipped to challenge Manchester City?

The Soccer Saturday pundits are all agreed on who will win the Premier League, but who will be the closest challengers?

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Fresh from winning the Community Shield, Manchester City have been tipped by the Soccer Saturday team of Paul Merson, Phil Thompson, Matt Le Tissier and Charlie Nicholas to retain their Premier League title, becoming the first team to do so since city rivals Manchester United in 2009.

But what are the reasons behind their predictions - and who are they tipping to run Pep's boys closest? Read on to find out...

Paul Merson

Man City will win it by double digits. They looked ready to go in the Charity Shield, they've got very good players and a very big squad. They've got to start well - all their players were away at the World Cup but they've all come back and want to play, look at Kyle Walker.

Pep Guardiola watches on during the Community Shield
Image: Pep Guardiola's side picked up 100 points last season

I think Liverpool will give it a go, they've bought very well but watching Man City I couldn't believe how good they were. Liverpool have to be patient - it's like the Rangers-Celtic situation, they've just got to close the gap.

Phil Thompson

I can't be so optimistic to tip my team. I wish I could! I have to go for Manchester City. It's still a lot of points to make up for Liverpool but we will be the nearest challengers this season. Our chance will come if City lose the knack of scoring late goals.

If you look at how many points they accumulated in the final minutes, that's how you win titles. Liverpool's last eight to 10 games are kind so if they're in contention at that stage then I think we'll have a chance, but that is looking very far ahead.

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp
Image: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has spent close to £200m this summer

Matt Le Tissier

The gap is just too big to bridge for any of the teams below, but I do think it will be closer and I think Liverpool will be the team providing the main competition. I just thought they were so superior last season.

The previous years they won it was close but they were just so far ahead of everyone else last season.

Charlie Nicholas

The reason I'm backing Manchester City is Pep Guardiola doesn't need to buy a lot of players - because he did it last season. It's so difficult to win back-to-back titles but the thing about Pep is he demands humility from players and, in what is the most competitive league in the world, after suffering that first season with no trophies he will be stimulating his players to the challenge.

Most people will disagree with me, but I think if he were to pick a trophy to win this season it would be the Premier League, because if he can do back-to-back titles in Spain, Germany and England that would be a hell of an achievement.

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