Two games now stand between Man City and the treble after the Premier League champions’ midweek victory over Arsenal, according to Paul Merson, who also believes the Gunners need to strengthen over the summer.

City’s 4-1 defeat of Arsenal at the Etihad moved Pep Guardiola’s side to within just two points of the leaders – with two matches in hand on their rivals – and also significantly closer to the treble.

It was a mesmeric display from City that reminded Merson of Guardiola’s great Barcelona teams of 2008-12.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League match between Manchester City and Arsenal

“When City play well and like that, they are head and shoulders above everyone else. I do not think anybody touches them,” the former Arsenal and England forward told Soccer Saturday.

“They were all over Arsenal, who were not allowed to give them a game, they closed down and everything they did was perfect. They were showing them down alleys, nicking balls, they could not keep it for more than four or five passes.

City will be in the final if they get it right against Real Madrid and there is no way in a million years either Inter Milan or AC Milan can beat them

Paul Merson on Soccer Saturday

“You have to give City credit for that, their closing down reminded me of Barcelona in their pomp when they used to do the five, six-second close down when they used to get the ball back quickly.

“I am not going to sit here and have a go at Arsenal, though, no one can match this team when they play like that, they are on a different planet.”

With retaining the Premier League title now in their own hands, City are within touching distance of winning the league, FA Cup and Champions League all in one season for the first time, and so matching city rivals Manchester United’s achievement from 1999.

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola insists the Premier League title race is still on, despite Wednesday’s win over league leaders Arsenal

In fact, Merson believes just two games now stand between City and their quest for the treble – the trip to face European champions Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on May 9, followed by the FA Cup final against United at Wembley on June 3.

“They are now two games away, and they are Real Madrid away, because I think they will look after them at home, but the away game, if Real Madrid get going and Man City have a bad 45 minutes, then they can hurt you.

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Guardiola and Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta reflect on City’s 4-1 win

“And Man Utd in the FA Cup final, who will have to stop them from winning the treble because I would have thought they would have won the league by then. They will be in the final if they get it right against Real Madrid and there is no way in a million years either Inter Milan or AC Milan can beat them.

“So, for me, they have got two football matches [to win the treble]. And people will say, ‘oh, but they have got Brighton away’, but they can lose to Brighton, they can lose a football match now, they do not have to win every football match.

“So, there is a game there [City may lose]. I did think Everton was the one, but when I see Everton the other day, no chanceā€¦”

As for Arsenal, despite everything they have achieved this campaign, Merson still feels Mikel Arteta’s team will face a fight to be in the top four next season, when they will also have to contend with Champions League football, meaning they will need to add to their squad this summer, especially at the back.

“Arsenal are not a shoo-in to get into the top four next season, for how great they have done this season, next season they have the Champions League,” he said.

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Merson says he has not seen Man City play like they did in the 4-1 thrashing of Arsenal, believing they ‘went to another level’

“Chelsea finished 10th one year and won the league the next season, they had no Champions League and no Europe, it makes a difference and Arsenal never really had that this year.

“Now they are in the Champions League next year and they are going to need more than one centre-half, because as soon as that centre-half (William Saliba) got injured, they conceded two, three, two and four, that tells you everything.”


Sunday 30th April 1:00pm


Kick off 2:00pm


Man City’s remaining fixtures

April 30: Fulham (A) – Premier League, kick-off 2pm, live on Sky Sports

May 3: West Ham (H) – Premier League, kick-off 8pm, live on Sky Sports

May 6: Leeds United (H) – Premier League, kick-off 3pm, live on Sky Sports

May 9: Real Madrid (A) – Champions League

May 13: Everton (A) – Premier League, kick-off 3pm

May 17: Real Madrid (H) – Champions League

May 21: Chelsea (H) – Premier League, kick-off 4pm

May 24: Brighton (A) – Premier League, kick-off 8pm, live on Sky Sports

May 28: Brentford (A) – Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm

June 3: Manchester United (N) – FA Cup final, kick-off 3pm


Tuesday 2nd May 6:30pm


Kick off 8:00pm


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