Joe Cole and Jermaine Jenas backed Manchester City to defend their Premier League crown in an alleged three-way battle with Liverpool and Chelsea, with the former praising Pep Guardiola’s ‘sensational’ side.
City kept the pace at the top of the league with a 7-0 victory over Leeds United at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night.
Liverpool then closed the gap to just one point after beating Newcastle 3-1 at Anfield on Thursday night, with the duo set to fight again next year for the most expensive prize in English football.
Joe Cole and Jermaine Jenas backed Man City to defend their Premier League crown
City are one point ahead of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, who beat Newcastle on Thursday night
But European champions Chelsea have dropped points for the third time in four games in all competitions with a 1-1 draw at home against Everton, leaving them three and four points behind the Reds and City respectively.
And former Chelsea star Cole – who had backed his ex-club to win their first Premier League title for the first time since the 2016-17 season – now believes Guardiola’s men’s experience to win the title them will see the trophy lifted for a fourth time in five seasons.
When asked about BT Sport who will win the league in May, Cole said: “I will say Man City. This is the first time that I have strayed from my [initial prediction of Chelsea].
“The fact that Chelsea gave up those points… and when I watched Man City the other night [against Leeds], they were just amazing.
Chelsea, however, lost points for the third time in four games in a draw against Everton
Cole (L) believes City’s experience will help them get through and Jenas (R) has also supported the current champions
“One of the main things I’m going to say is that they are having the experience where they have in the past few years.”
Asked about Chelsea’s problems, the former Blues star believes the absence of N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic has thrown Thomas Tuchel’s midfielder off balance.
Kante struggled with a knee injury after facing Juventus in November, while Kovacic tested positive for Covid-19.
‘No, certainly [it is a wobble]’Cole added. “It was a bump in the road, but now it’s turned into a little hiccup.
“It is difficult to determine what is wrong, because they had to do with N’Golo Kante who had not been in the camp for months before and they managed to [deal with it].
“I think having Kovacic out there too… those two give you legs in the middle of the park.” As well [Ruben] Loftus-Cheek was exceptional, but maybe the balance has just shifted slightly in midfield. It’s a test for Tuchel now.
Successful title defense would see fourth crown in five seasons for Pep Guardiola
Jenas also tipped current champions City to defend their crown, but believes Jurgen Klopp’s side could be successful on the Continent this season.
“Chelsea are going to be back, it’s a swing,” said the former Tottenham midfielder. “Liverpool are going to be strong in Europe and in the league definitely. I want Liverpool in Europe this year.
Meanwhile, former City defender Joleon Lescott has warned Chelsea he needs to keep pace with the first two if he is to hope to end his five-year wait for the title in May.
“I see all three teams running away with it but Chelsea have to be careful,” Lescott said.
“I see City on an eight-game winning streak, Liverpool on six, Chelsea’s best run is four games, so they need to keep their momentum and in the chase pack.”
Joleon Lescott warned Chelsea he needs to keep pace with Premier League top two
Cole believes the absences of N’Golo Kante (center) and Mateo Kovacic (right) have thrown the Chelsea midfielder off balance
Cole and Jenas also had their say on which teams will make the top four, with the two not convinced Arsenal will finish there at the end of the season, despite West Ham having made a leap in forward for the Champions League by beating the Hammers on Wednesday night.
And while the former Newcastle star admitted he was also not convinced by the top four challengers Manchester United and Tottenham, former England midfielder Cole believes the Red Devils will come in last place due goals from Cristiano Ronaldo.
When asked if he thought Arsenal would finish in the top four, Jenas replied: “No I don’t think so, but I was really impressed with them. I look at the teams around. [them] and I’m not convinced by Man United either.
Cole and Jenas don’t think Arsenal will finish in the top four despite being currently fourth
Asked if his former club Spurs could finish in the top four, he added: “No, definitely not. This [the top four race] is going to be an interesting game at the end of the season. It will be wide open.
‘West Ham is going to be in the conversation, I think they are going to get back into contention. What I like about Arsenal right now is that defensively they look really good.
“Once you have that stability in any team, with the quality that they have, they can win any game. [Mikel Arteta] must sort it out when they come to places like this [Anfield], he can’t find that balance at the moment.
“But they’re going to be in the conversation, and a lot closer than I thought at the start of the season for that fourth place.”
Cole backed Manchester United to finish in the top four due to the “Cristiano Ronaldo factor”
Meanwhile, Cole added, “I agree with JJ [Jenas]. I left Arsenal last night thinking ‘there is so much to be positive’.
‘The goalkeeper [Aaron Ramsdale] is exceptional, Gabriel [Magalhaes] and [Benjamin] The whites gathered him in there [at centre-back], they really succeeded.
“I think they’ll be there or around, but I would just go with Manchester United, just because of the Ronaldo factor. He’s a genius and he guarantees you goals. In big games he always shows up. .