Gary Neville insists Liverpool will not runaway with the Premier League title and ponders the possibility of a Jose Mourinho vs Frank Lampard title race.
Spurs ended the weekend top of the Premier League after a tactically astute 2-0 victory over Manchester City on Saturday. It is the first time they have ended a day top of the summit since August 2014.
It sets up a mouthwatering clash with Lampard’s Chelsea next weekend, live on Sky Sports, with the west Londoners also finding a run of form that has catapulted them to within two points of Spurs. Chelsea’s fifth consecutive victory at Newcastle extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to 12 games and had lifted them briefly to the summit until Tottenham leapfrogged them.
Speaking before Liverpool’s win over Leicester that took them level on points with Spurs, Neville said on The Gary Neville Podcast: “I’m excited for next Sunday with Chelsea playing Tottenham.
“It’s an interesting season. We thought Chelsea might be interesting at the start of the season as they have a young, exciting squad – it looks like Frank Lampard is starting to get it right. He was still searching for his best team in the first few matches to try and fit everyone in. There were certain players that weren’t fit but now they are and he’s starting to work it out. They look pretty strong.
“Is it a season where Jose Mourinho and Frank Lampard being up against each other in a title race? I thought Liverpool would run away with it, but not now, not the with Virgil van Dijk injury. That’s the one that is the gamechanger and exposes them a lot more.”
What has happened to Man City?
Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola may have signed a new contract but there are problems to solve in attack and defence at Manchester City, as shown by the team’s 2-0 defeat to Tottenham.
It may be November but the bottom half of the Premier League table still contains City, who have scored just 10 goals in eight Premier League games this season – at the same stage of last term, they had scored 27.
So, what is going wrong?
“The biggest thing for me is in transition,” Neville said.
“They are not as quick at getting the ball back. Teams are more comfortable playing a pass through them and taking a risk. City used to be all over you like a rash when losing the ball or would just sustain attacks – but it’s less than it was before.
“Ederson doesn’t look as comfortable in goal, he’s making mistakes he wouldn’t have made a couple of seasons ago. There seems too much reliance on Kevin De Bruyne. Something is not quite right.
“Pep seems to be searching for the right combinations. A couple of seasons ago you could reel off the team: Sane, Sterling, Aguero, De Bruyne, Silva, Fernandinho, Kompany – you could tell what was going to happen each game.
“I don’t get that feeling anymore that the fluidity and continuity is quite there.”