Arsenal may be eight points clear of Manchester City and nine ahead of Manchester United, but Gary Neville cannot see it staying that way.
Gary Neville has tipped Arsenal to finish below Manchester City and even Manchester United in third place, despite the Gunners’ big lead at the Premier League summit.
Arsenal continued their fine form with a 2-0 win over north London rivals Tottenham on Sunday to move eight points clear of City, who were beaten 2-1 by United on Saturday.
This is Arsenal’s biggest lead in the competition after the same number of games as the team below them since the last day of the 2003-04 season, when they last won the title.
Meanwhile, Man United and Newcastle United are a point adrift, with the latter having played a game more than the rest of the top four.
But while many are now backing Arsenal to end their long wait for top-flight glory, United legend Neville expects them to finish as high as third.
Asked whether Arsenal would win the Premier League, Neville said on his Sky Sports podcast: “No. But I said Leicester City won’t win the league…
“I don’t think they will win the league. Manchester City will win the league and I think Man Utd will finish second and I know that will upset the Arsenal fans.
“I would rather Arsenal win the league than Man City. I think it would be absolutely sensational for the Premier League.”
“I think when I look at the Premier League, we’ve seen City rise over the last five years, apart from Liverpool.
“To imagine that Arsenal could come and win it adds to our league, it makes our league great. I’d love to see Man Utd win it but I don’t think it’s going to happen this season.”
Arsenal’s return of 47 points after 18 games is the fourth highest of any team at this stage of the Premier League season, having dropped just seven points all campaign.
However, Neville backed City to string together a run of wins as they so often do – with Arsenal still playing home and away – and win their fifth title in six seasons.
“The reality is I think at some point Man City will run away. Once they do, they have to play Arsenal twice,” said Neville.
“At some point there will be a very difficult period for Arsenal this season. Is it conceivable that Arsenal will continue as they are? I don’t think so.”
“Could they draw two and lose one over a three-game stretch, and if they do, their lead is gone and the pack is with them? That’s what I think is going to happen.”
“We’re going to see a traditional Premier League season where a team is relegated, a pacemaker, and then pulls back a bit.
“But I still think this season is going to be a lot better for Arsenal than I ever imagined.”
Arsenal face United in another league game on Sunday, while City host Tottenham on Thursday and Wolves on Sunday.