Pep Guardiola believes Newcastle United are in contention for the Premier League trophy this season and believes Liverpool cannot be left out of the running, naming six rivals for Manchester City’s crown.
City are bidding for a third consecutive Premier League triumph and sit two points behind early season leaders Arsenal ahead of this weekend’s fixtures.
With last season’s runners-up Liverpool languishing in ninth place amid a disastrous start to the campaign, the upper parts of the table look unfamiliar – with Newcastle flying high in fourth.
Eddie Howe’s side have won three consecutive Premier League games and conceded just 10 goals in their 13 appearances in the competition this season – fewer than any other team, leading Guardiola to speak about his chances .
Asked about the teams in contention for the title, Guardiola replied: “I would say Arsenal, I would say Man City, I would say Chelsea, I would say Newcastle, I would say Tottenham, I would say [Manchester] United and I would also say Liverpool.
“I think these teams can fight for the title.”
Insisting on why he saw Newcastle as part of this conversation, Guardiola pointed to their lack of European football and the pressing style instilled by Howe.
“They have an incredible physique,” Guardiola said, “they don’t play in Europe and when that happens it’s a big advantage coming at the decisive moment in terms of energy.
“They have incredible energy for themselves. Imagine having a long week [to prepare]. A good manager, high-level players, experienced players, quality in the middle, a box-to-box transition team.
“The way they have the intensity off the ball is so impressive, it’s high, and that’s a big difference. They have good momentum and I imagine they’ll stay there longer.”
Much of Guardiola’s trophy-laden spell at City was characterized by close title battles with Liverpool, and he refused to write off Jurgen Klopp’s side despite their poor start.
“In the past, the same manager and the same team are capable of 17 straight wins, 18 straight wins, 14 straight wins,” Guardiola said.
“Several times in the last few years they’ve done it, why can’t they [they] do it again?
“Nobody knows what will happen after the World Cup with the transfer window, how the players come back. That’s my feeling.
“The first candidate at the moment is Arsenal. Why? They are top of the league and the others are behind. The gap is narrow.
“We’ll see how we finish in the last two games, but I think a lot of these teams deserve to be there, and we’ll see how they play against all of them.
“How teams like United and Newcastle have come forward, and how Tottenham have done that, they can be there, [there are] no doubt.”