All over before it’s even started

I think the only way Pep and his well-oiled machine can lose the league is if they are incredibly unlucky with injuries.

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It will take an awful lot of bad luck for Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City not to win the league. AFP Photo

Paul Kennedy

Let me be the first to congratulate Pep Guardiola and his Manchester City team for winning the Premier League next year.

Now I know a ball hasn’t even been kicked yet, and the season doesn’t start until August 12, but let’s face facts here, can anyone really stop them?

Arsenal came close last time around, and the addition of Declan Rice to their midfield will only see them improve.

But I can’t help but think that as good as Arsenal were last season, it was the poor form of other teams that made them shine.

Manchester United still need a few more top-draw signings, and despite filling their gaping hole up front with Rasmus Hojlund, it’s well worth noting that the Dane is still only 20, and far from the finished article.

Chelsea, who last season had a stinker, have a new manager in Mauricio Pochettino, but I can’t see the west Londoners coming anywhere near City.

Newcastle United are clearly a team going in the right direction, and with money to spend they should be strong this season. But strong enough to challenge City? Nah, no chance.

Liverpool also struggled last season and have lost three very experienced midfielders in James Milner, Fabinho and captain Jordan Henderson.

Sure, they’ve bought World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister and the highly-rated Hungarian Dominik Szoboszlai, but I still feel if they are to worry City, they need to sign another midfielder and a decent defender.

So how can City be toppled?

I think the only way Pep and his well-oiled machine can lose the league is if they are incredibly unlucky with injuries.

And even then, it’s going to take some very serious injuries to very key players to put even a dent in their title challenge.

Yes, I get that anything can happen, and a season is an awfully long time with many matches, twists and turns to come.

But if Pep can keep his top stars fit, then really I can’t anyone see finishing above City when the season comes to an end in May next year.

So in reality, the race for the title is really just a race for second place. I hope I’m wrong, and I hope I’ll be eating these words in 10 months’ time.

But I just can’t see it.