Samir Nasri writes off Liverpool's title challenge as Manchester City midfielder tips Chelsea and Manchester United as major threats

City midfielder believes United can still recover from their poor start to the season to challenge for the top honour

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The Independent Football

Samir Nasri has appeared to dismiss Liverpool’s title challenge before the new Premier league season is even four games old after claiming that the reigning champions will face their toughest tests against Chelsea and Manchester United.

Nasri’s comments will also infuriate Arsenal fans, who believe that they are in a position to challenge for the title after last season’s FA Cup success and the additions of Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck.

City only beat Liverpool by two points last season as the title race went down to the wire, and the Reds have acted swiftly to replace the Barcelona-bound Luis Suarez by making nine new signings this summer – including those of Rickie Lambert and Mario Balotelli. But despite their title credentials being strengthened in the comfortable 3-0 win over Tottenham last week, Nasri doesn’t feel that Brendan Rodgers’ side are in with a shout.

“Liverpool will find it tougher because they have lost Luis Suarez and they will be playing Champions League football so it will be different for them,” he told the City match-day programme.

“Last season they only had the Premier League to go for in the final months and it gave them a real advantage because their players were going into games fresher at a vital stage of the campaign.”

 

City have already gained the early bragging rights due to their 3-1 win over the Reds in August, although Balotelli was not available for the match against his former side and they looked a much improved side with him in the team at White Hart Lane.

Even though Manchester United’s combination of last season’s disaster of a season and the poor start to the new campaign, Nasri is still tipping City’s fiercest rivals to partner Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea as their biggest threats.

“I think our two main rivals will be Chelsea and Manchester United,” Nasri continued.

“Chelsea have made some good signings and Cesc Fabregas will be the guy to replace Frank Lampard. He is a great player, I know that because I was with him at Arsenal.

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Nasri believes Costa's arrival has significantly strengthened Chelsea

“Chelsea had a weakness up front last year but have signed Diego Costa. They will be really dangerous.

“United have a new coach, have strengthened as well and don't have any European competition – so I expect them to come back stronger, too.”

The French midfielder, who confirmed his retirement from France duty last month after being overlooked by manager Didier Deschamps for his World Cup squad, did spare a thought for Arsenal, who he maintains an infamously negative relationship with the supporters that used to cheer him at the Emirates.

Nasri added: “But Arsenal could be in there, too, and bringing in players like Alexis Sanchez will make them stronger.”

The 27-year-old will return once more to the Emirates next Saturday afternoon along with former Gunners Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy. The lunch-time kick-off will represent the first time Sagna will play at Arsenal since leaving the club on a free transfer at the end of last season. The defender is unlikely to receive a warm welcome, although he did depart the club in far more acrimonious circumstances than Nasri’s rather tainted exit.

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