Mark Hughes has backed Arsenal to withstand pressure from Manchester City and clinch the Premier League title.
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The Gunners, who are aiming to win their first league title since 2004, sit eight points ahead of Man City with nine games remaining.
Mikel Arteta’s side only finished fifth last season but have been a different proposition this term, winning 23 of their 29 league games.
Manchester City, meanwhile, are bidding to defend their Premier League crown and win the title for a fifth time since 2018.
Former Premier League manager Hughes says Man City’s experience of winning titles could prove crucial but is still backing Arsenal to be crowned champions for the first time in almost two decades.
‘Arsenal are going really strong, I’ve been really impressed by them,’ Hughes told Metro.co.uk.
‘There’s a point where you think maybe this is the time they’re going to have a wobble – but they seem to have got over that, so it shows they’ve got the character to go the whole stretch.
‘It wouldn’t surprise me if they were to go the whole way and clinch the title.
‘Manchester City will always have a question to ask Arsenal. The question is can Arsenal go right to the end and get over the line? Man City have more experience in that regard.
‘City will be there to question Arsenal, but I think Arsenal could very well do it this year.’
As a former Manchester United striker and prolific Premier League manager, Hughes has experience at both ends of the table.
The 59-year-old won two league titles and four FA Cups during his spell at Man United and still sits ninth in the list of all-time top goalscorers at Old Trafford.
Since retiring in 2002, Hughes has managed the likes of Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City, Stoke City, Southampton and Wales.
Hughes kept Stoke in the Premier League for several years and also guided Southampton to safety in the 2017-18 season.
The Welshman – currently in charge of Bradford City – fears for his former club during the current relegation battle but says it would ‘only take a run of two or three wins’ to propel up the table.
Southampton currently sit bottom of the Premier League but just seven points separates the Saints and 12th-placed Crystal Palace, with Leicester City, Everton, Leeds United, Bournemouth, Nottingham Forest, West Ham and Wolves all at risk of relegation.
‘At the other end of the table – it’s very difficult,’ Sky Bet ambassador Hughes added. ‘It’s very close from 12th downwards.
‘It only takes a run of two or three games to shoot yourself out of those relegation places, so I think somebody has just got to go on a run and make sure that they get out and stay out.
‘It’s going to be difficult for Southampton, they have shown signs recently that they’ve got a bit of fight, but whether that will be enough to keep them up, I’m not too sure.’
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