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Paul Merson predicts the five favorites to win the Champions League

Champions League
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The former Arsenal midfielder has named his five top contenders for the 2022/23 Champions League.

Paul Merson has backed Manchester City as his top pick to win the Champions League in 2022/23.

The Englishman has also tipped Liverpool, Chelsea, Barcelona, and Bayern Munich as the five leading contenders, alongside City, to challenge for the ultimate prize in European club football.

Despite winning four Premier League titles in the past five seasons, the Champions League has eluded the Citizens. Their best finish in the competition was a runner-up spot in 2021. However, based on all their achievements in the Pep Guardiola era, Merson expects their drought to end soon.

“I have to pick Manchester City as the favorites for the Champions League this season because of everything they’ve achieved under Pep Guardiola over the years, but it won’t be easy for them,” Merson told Sportskeeda.

He added: “I have a feeling we’ll see an all-English final this season because I genuinely believe the Premier League is head and shoulders above the rest of the domestic leagues in Europe. Unless the draw puts two English sides against one another in one of the knockout rounds, I do think they’ll face each other in the final.”

The Real Madrid mystery

Reigning champions Real Madrid, however, didn’t make the cut in Merson’s list of top five favorites.

“I just can’t wrap my head around what they did last season,” the former Arsenal and England midfielder said.

“Were they great, or did they just get lucky? They were effectively out of the competition three times in the knockout stages against PSG, Chelsea, and Manchester City but managed to defy the odds each time, while they prevailed in the final despite Liverpool playing better football and creating better chances. It was one of the most one-sided finals I’ve seen, but they still came out on top!

“Karim Benzema, who is deservedly the frontrunner for the 2022 Ballon d’Or, had one of the biggest purple patches of his career last time around, but can he carry on in the same vein this season?”