Express Sport writers debate who can stop Pep Guardiola’s Man City next season

Can anybody really stop the Premier League-winning machine that is Manchester City? That’s the question for the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Newcastle heading into next season after Pep Guardiola’s side lifted their fourth title in five years at the weekend.

Arsenal had been in the driving seat for much of the campaign, but there was always the belief that City would find top gear to turn things around and that came in the middle of February. Guardiola’s side have shown in previous years that they’re able to go on long winning streaks and repeated that when they needed to with the victory of Chelsea last time out being their 12th in a row in the league.

It’s the kind of form City’s Premier League rivals can only dream of and will have to figure out a way to prevent it from happening again next year. But is any team currently well-equipped to truly put a stop to City’s Premier League dominance? Or will it be another City title parade in 12 months?

Express Sport’s writers give their early predictions for next season…

Archie Griggs – Nobody

There is little reason to believe that Manchester City will not win a fourth straight Premier League title next season, with the newly-crowned English champions simply too strong for any other side to contend with unless a miracle happens over the course of the campaign. Arsenal have shown over the last few months that they do not have the experience or quality required to dislodge Pep Guardiola’s side at the top of the table, while the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea will need at least a couple of years to regroup in order to stand any chance of testing City’s dominance over a 38-game season in the near future.

Joe Krishnan: Arsenal

Arsenal went toe-to-toe with Pep Guardiola’s side this season in their title challenge and were superb for a lot of this campaign. Contrary to views held by opposing fans, they didn’t bottle it – they merely became the latest victim to Man City’s relentless run in the title run-in. By signing Declan Rice and another centre-back, it feels fitting on the 20-year anniversary of the invincibles’ triumph, they could end 20 years of waiting.

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Stuart Ballard: Nobody

It may depend on what teams like Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool do in the summer transfer window, but Manchester City are lightyears ahead now. The Gunners gave it a good go this season while others faltered, but this is a City team that are only going to get even better next year with Erling Haaland not even at his peak years yet. City’s ability to rattle together 12-straight wins to clinch their fourth title in five years is a scary reality all teams will fear could repeat itself next year.

Jack Otway: Maybe Man Utd and Arsenal but it’s a stretch

Nobody is going to catch Manchester City any time soon. They’re too good, too formidable and too hungry for even more trophies. If it is to be anyone, it’ll be Arsenal or Manchester United. But that’s unlikely. Arsenal will be wounded by their failed title charge and there was always a sense this season was now or never under Mikel Arteta. As for United, murmurings suggest they’ll spend big. But that’s not helped them close the gap in the past and their rivals are lightyears ahead.

Lewis Winter: Nobody

As we currently stand, no one can catch City next season. Arsenal gave it their best shot this term but ultimately fell short. The Gunners need more depth to their squad as several players were almost burnt out by the start of April. Liverpool need a strong summer window in order to challenge again. Manchester United signing Harry Kane would take them a lot closer to top spot than they are now. But if City are anywhere near their best, then no one will be able to stop them.

Jonathan Spencer: Nobody

I fear it will be a race to be second best once again next season – with Arsenal, Liverpool and Man Utd in with the best shot of putting up at least some fight to Man City but ultimately ending short.

With Erling Haaland up front, and Kevin De Bruyne continuing to pull the strings in midfield, as well as having the likes of Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden and Julian Alvarez on the bench still – what chance do their rivals’ have? No matter what Arsenal, Utd and co may spend on the likes of Declan Rice and Harry Kane this summer, it just won’t quite be enough. With a star-studded array of options and a monster mentality (especially if they do the treble) – it’s a deadly combination. The only chance others will have of catching City is if they get complacent or leggy in their pursuit of perfection.

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