Monday, May 20News That Matters

Ferdinand predicts Premier League top six this season

Rio Ferdinand believes Manchester City will defend their Premier League title this campaign due to to their “experience of winning”.

Guardiola’s side clinched last term’s crown with a dramatic 3-2 win against Aston Villa on the final day, scoring three goals in the last 15 minutes at the Etihad to finish one point ahead of Liverpool. It was their fourth title under the Spaniard in five years.

City have strengthened in the transfer market this summer – signing Erling Haaland from Dortmund and Kalvin Phillips from Leeds – and Manchester United legend Ferdinand is tipping them to beat Klopp’s side to the title once again.

“I think City will be the team to beat again,” Ferdinand tells Mirror Football, courtesy of BT Sport.

“They’ve strengthened again, they’ve got Haaland in and Kalvin Phillips. They’ve lost [Raheem] Sterling, yes, but they’ve got a deep squad still and players that can play multiple positions. And they’ve got the experience of winning. Liverpool will push them hard again.”

In terms of Champions League football, Ferdinand is backing United to break into the top four. They finished sixth in the Premier League last campaign – recording their lowest points tally (58) for 32 years – and haven’t won any trophy since May 2017.

But United are under new management after the appointment of Erik ten Hag and have impressed in pre-season, recording superb wins against Liverpool, Melbourne Victory and Crystal Palace during their tour of Thailand and Australia.

Ferdinand also believes Tottenham will finish third, leaving Chelsea and Arsenal outside the top four. Antonio Conte’s side have spent heavily this summer, bringing in Bissouma, Ivan Perisic, Fraser Forster, Richarlison, Djed Spence and Lenglet.

Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal have also signed Oleksandr Zinchenko, Gabriel Jesus, Matt Turner, Marquinhos and Fabio Vieira – while Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea have invested £80m in Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly.

“A subplot to those two trying to win the league is between Chelsea, Manchester United and Spurs – and possibly Arsenal – for those third and fourth spots,” claims Ferdinand. “I think that’s going to be a great race, as well.

“I’m sure someone from out of the pack will come up and jump into that area as well, like we saw with West Ham last season. It’s going to be interesting. I think it [the top six in order] will go Man City, Liverpool, Spurs, Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal.”

On transfers, Ferdinand adds: “I think City have done alright in the window, for what they needed. Nottingham Forest have done a lot of movement… I don’t think anyone stands out. I think Liverpool and City have done clean work early, which I like. Spurs have done well, I think Bissouma will be a fantastic signing – Richarlison as well, getting in those positions up front – two big signings.”

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