Former Arsenal and England star Paul Merson has named the four teams he believes can win the Premier League next season.
Manchester City stormed to their third league title in four years last season, with Pep Guardiola 's side winning 27 of their 38 fixtures to finish 12 points clear of second-placed Manchester United .
The Red Devils are beginning to emerge as title contenders under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and made up considerable ground on Liverpool last term, who only finished third after winning the league in 2019-20.
Champions League winners Chelsea finished fourth last season and Merson reckons those four clubs are set to battle it out for the title in 2021-22.
'As we edge closer to the 2021-22 edition of the Premier League, I strongly believe this could be one of the tightest ones in recent memory,' Merson told Sportskeeda .
'Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea can all win the title – that's a four-way battle for the Premier League crown and I don't expect any of them to run away with it by a margin of double-digit points.
'In my opinion, Chelsea need a forward. I don't know what the deal is with Erling Haaland, but they need someone who can score 20 Premier League goals a season.
'Timo Werner is a different kind of player – he's a willing runner who works hard for the team and is very unselfish.
'However, he doesn't strike me as someone who can score 20 goals a season, so it'll be interesting to see what happens there.
'Manchester United have already signed Jadon Sancho, but they could do with another midfielder.
'Regardless of what happens in the transfer market, as I said before, I expect a really close Premier League title race.
'Another important thing to keep an eye on is when the big players return to their respective sides after their international commitments.
'Many Premier League stars represented their countries at Euro 2020 and Copa America this summer, so they could well miss a few games at the start of the new season.'
While Merson expects 'one of the closest titles races in ages', he reckons Manchester City will defend their Premier League crown.
He added: 'There's a big gulf of class between the top four sides in the Premier League and the rest, so the title race could boil down to who wins the mini-league between Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea.
'There is another mini-league involving Arsenal, Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton that could decide the rest of the European spots.
'I can't see any of the bottom half teams getting points from the top four in the 2021-22 Premier League season – I'd be really shocked if that were to be the case.
'We could witness one of the closest title races in ages, but I expect Manchester City to come out on top this season.'
The 2021-22 Premier League campaign starts on August 13, with recently-promoted Brentford hosting Arsenal.
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