EPL

Man City favourites for Premier League title, says former striker Dickov

By Sports Desk October 04, 2021

Manchester City are the favourites to win the Premier League this year, according to former striker Paul Dickov.

Pep Guardiola's defending champions started off the new term with a 1-0 loss away at Tottenham but have embarked on a six-game unbeaten run to leave them third — two points behind leaders Chelsea.

City beat Thomas Tuchel's side 1-0 at Stamford Bridge last Saturday before battling for a well-deserved point against fellow title contenders Liverpool in a thrilling 2-2 draw at Anfield.

The latter result saw Liverpool extend their unbeaten run to 17 games but Dickov sees his former club's recent run of form as proof that they are the team to beat.

"Yeah, I think they have to be," Dickov responded to Stats Perform when asked if City were favourites to win the league.

"I think if you look at the week that they've just had you know there's probably three of the toughest away games in one week that is against three of the best teams in Europe — Chelsea, PSG and then Liverpool.

"The record has not always been great for Manchester City so for me, I look at the strength and depth in the Manchester City squad and that just edges it for me for them to be the favourites."

City conceded more goals against Jurgen Klopp's side (two) than in their previous seven top-flight games combined beforehand, but the draw means Liverpool have only managed to beat City on one of the last seven occasions in the Premier League.

Guardiola's team may have, perhaps understandably, felt hard done by to leave Anfield without all three points, but Dickov sees City's squad as the reason they will retain their title this campaign.

"I think the quality they've got in the squad, for me over the course of a very long, hard season in England, that's the thing that stands out for me," he continued.

"We look at the team [on Sunday] and they had Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez sitting on the bench.

"[There is] Ferran Torres or Ilkay Gudogan, who was possibly Manchester City's best player last season, coming back from injury.  [They have] Fernandinho, John Stones, I could just go on and on.

"That squad, that for me is the thing that's going to make the big difference over the course of the season because I don't feel the other teams are quite like that."

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    Kohli's 57 – his 29th half-century in the format in which he is the leading run scorer in history (3,216) – guided India to 151-7.

    However, India had lost all eight games defending 160 or lower and that trend continued Sunday.

    Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan combined for a 152-run opening stand, the highest opening partnership against India and the second-highest in the history of the competition, to see Pakistan to a maiden victory over India in the competition.

    Yet despite conceding Pakistan outclassed his side, Kohli insisted India would not begin to worry in the early stages of the tournament.

    "We did not execute the things that we wanted to but credit is certainly due – they outplayed us today," Kohli said at the post-match presentation.

    "When you lose three early it's very difficult to come back, especially when you know the dew is coming. They were very professional with the bat as well. 

    "Hitting through the line was not as easy in the first half as it seemed in the Pakistan innings, so when you know the conditions can change, you need 10-20 extra runs. 

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    Paul Pogba came on from the bench for a calamitous 15-minute cameo in which he conceded possession for Salah's hat-trick goal before seeing red for a lunge on Keita, though United at least managed to keep the Reds out while down to 10.

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