Michael Owen has claimed that it would be 'foolish' to think that any team other than Manchester City will win the Premier League this season, calling Pep Guardiola's side 'absolutely brilliant'.
Speaking to 90min last week, BT Sport pundit Owen hailed the style of football played at the Etihad - backing City to win their first Premier League title in four seasons thanks to the entertaining, free-flowing football brought in by the Spaniard.
Asked if the title would be out of reach if United lost to Newcastle on the weekend (they came from behind to win 4-1), Owen said: "Well I don't think you can specifically say it to United, I think you can rephrase that to 'how close are Manchester City to winning the title?'
"I'd say they're obviously looking as though they're the team to beat - although we were in this situation last season where City were looking ominously good, beating everyone and a few points clear, and they weren't even close at the end! Yes, you'd be foolish to think Manchester City aren't going to win it - I'd be very surprised, but you can't say it's all over.
"You can't say any of the top boys are out of it yet, because Chelsea were struggling last season and then they went on the most amazing run and won it at an absolute canter. So even the teams you think are a bit off the pace at the moment, you just can't put it past them. However, City look like they're a better team than they were last season. They're absolutely brilliant at the moment and it does look like it's theirs to lose."
City sit eight points clear at the top of the table after just 12 games, comfortably ahead of Owen's former side United - but the former Red Devil admitted that he would much rather watch Guardiola's side play than Jose Mourinho's.
"I would by a million miles," he said, "prefer to see good attacking players playing in an expensive way to show their true potential, because if you’re playing in a defensive type of way without enough bodies going forward then you're knocking 10, 20, 30% off the ability of your attacking players.
"That might be fine, because you're gaining it in a certain structure and you're harder to beat - and time will tell. It's certainly the safest way to play, to keep it tight and have a moment of magic to try to nick a 1-0 but if you ask anybody - to watch a team like Manchester City, or a Barcelona over the last decade or so, that's the way you'd like your best teams to play.
"To go and, no matter what team comes or how they play, when you went to the Nou Camp you just got beaten and to me that's a genius way of coaching and getting the best out of players. I think it's far easier to set up a team to defend and to be hard to beat, especially when you've got a lot of money and you can buy the great players. I don't think there's as much skill in playing a defensive way as there is playing in an expansive way, which City are at the minute."
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