Zabaleta predicts open title race

The opening round of fixtures led many to suggest the Manchester clubs and Chelsea will dominate, but the Argentine insists Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool are also threats

Pablo Zabaleta insists this season's Premier League title race is not exclusively between Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea.

The City defender believes Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal are also all serious contenders to United's crown.

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Zabaleta, fresh from signing a new four-year deal earlier in the day, was part of the City side that thrashed Newcastle United 4-0 on Monday to go top following the opening round of fixtures.

With City, champions United and Chelsea occupying three of the top four places in the fledgling Premier League table, neutrals could be forgiven for expecting the usual suspects to dominate from now until May.

But Zabaleta has dismissed this theory. 

"People say there are just three teams in the title race but that’s not true," said the 28-year-old.

"Liverpool have improved and play attractive football, though a lot will depend on what happens with Luis Suarez, and there is also Arsenal and Spurs.

"The season has only just begun. It's going to be a very interesting season."

City caught the eye on Monday with a ruthless attacking performance. Goals from David Silva, Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri ensured Manuel Pellegrini's tenure began with an emphatic win after he succeeded Roberto Mancini. 

Zabaleta added: "We played with a high intensity and I think we were good value for our victory.

"We know how the manager wants us to play and the communication has been excellent during pre-season so it was a good start and it was important to begin as well as possible."