Gary Neville claims Man Utd will finish above Arsenal despite PL lead

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Gary Neville has risked enraging Arsenal fans after claiming that both Manchester clubs could still finish above the Premier League leaders come the end of the season. Neville – half-joking – predicted Manchester United to finish second behind rivals City, despite Arsenal holding an eight-point lead in the top flight. 

Mikel Arteta’s side defeated Tottenham in the north London derby on Sunday. Hugo Lloris scored an own goal before Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard thumped home from 30 yards. 

Arsenal are now strong favourites to win the league. However, former Man Utd defender Neville is not entirely convinced by their potential to go all the way. 

Asked by Sky Sports colleague Martin Tyler if Arsenal will win the league, Neville responded: “No. But I said Leicester wouldn’t win the league [during their 2015-16 title-winning campaign]. They won’t win the league, Manchester City will win the league.”

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Smiling mischievously, Neville continued: “I think Manchester United will finish second. I know that will annoy Arsenal fans. And it’s annoyed them all season! 

“Do you know something? I hope Arsenal win the league if… I’d rather Arsenal win the league than Manchester City. I think it would be absolutely sensational for the Premier League.”

Tyler interjected: “Is that as an analyst or as a fan?” The former England international responded: “As an analyst and a fan.

“When I think about watching the Premier League, we’ve seen City sweep up, apart from Liverpool, over the last five years. To think Arsenal can come through and win it, it adds to our league, it makes our league great. 

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“Of course, I’d love Manchester United to come through and win it. But I don’t think that’s going to happen this season. I’d love Arsenal to win it more than Manchester City, but I think the reality of it is that, at some point, Manchester City will just hit a run. 

“Once they hit a run, they have to play Arsenal twice, [and] Arsenal have got all the big games to come.”

Neville pointed out that Arsenal are yet to suffer a difficult run this season, with their form almost perfect since August. “At some point, there will be a very difficult period for Arsenal this season. Is it conceivable that Arsenal are going to continue as they are? I don’t think it is. 

“Is it conceivable that they will draw two and lose one in a three-game period? If they did that, their lead is gone. All of a sudden, the pack is up with them. That’s what I think is going to happen – we will see a traditional Premier League season with a pace-setter and they get drawn back in a little bit.”

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