Gary Neville thinks the fact Manchester City were dropping points this season will give their Premier League rivals hope in the race for the coveted title.
Arsenal currently sit top of the table, a point better off than second-placed Manchester City, who were held to a 1-1 draw against third-placed Liverpool on Saturday.
It was the fourth time Pep Guardiola’s side have dropped points this season following another draw at Chelsea and defeats to Wolves and Arsenal, respectively.
And Neville, speaking on The Gary Neville Podcast, thinks City will still be challenging come the end of the season but the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool will believe they can push them all the way.
“The more Man City drop points, and they’re not wobbling – but the more they drop points to give encouragement to others, the more the league will think there’s a chance something could happen,” Neville said.
“I’ve predicted Arsenal for the title this season, I just feel like post-treble, three times on the bounce, you may get days like [Saturday] where that clinical, extra bit of a finish doesn’t come along.
“The Chelsea game a couple of weeks ago, we’ve had Wolves, Newcastle in the Carabao Cup, and a few moments now where City haven’t quite got over the line.
“They’re not playing badly,” he added. “They’re in a good place, and they may just get through this winter slog – November through to February – and I used to love this period.
“This is the period I used to really like, you get rid of the pretenders, the teams who start the season well when the weather’s good and then they just have a good start, everyone gets a bit excited.
“But this middle 15 games, 20 games up to March time, really sorts out who’s going to be in the race towards the end. You lose two or three, and you’ll lose two or three out of that group in the next couple of months.
“City will still be there at the end, but the fact that they are dropping points, it gives the others a chance to be in the title race with them at the end.
“I think definitely they’re ready to challenge for the title,” he said, “but the stats here are quite telling to be honest and I don’t think that will work in their favour.
“If I look at City, you almost have to be 10 points in front of them at Christmas, because they’re always so strong in the spring.
“One thing I would take into consideration is that other teams now have respect for Arsenal – the same way they approach a game against City.
“Teams approach with the same game plan, it’s to destroy what Arsenal are doing, and that makes it harder for them in open play to score as many goals,” he added.