Both Arsenal and Liverpool are capable of pushing Manchester City close in what promises to be the most open Premier League title race in recent years.
That is the view of former Tottenham and England midfielder Darren Anderton, though he says Pep Guardiola's men are still the team to beat as they chase an unprecedented fourth successive English top-flight title.
Ahead of Saturday's Premier League fixtures, just two points separated leaders Arsenal and fourth-placed Aston Villa, with City and Liverpool nestled between that pair.
The 2015-16 season, when Leicester City stunned the football world by winning the title under Claudio Ranieri, is the only previous Premier League campaign to feature such a slender gap between first and fourth after 13 matchdays.
Mikel Arteta's Arsenal moved four points clear at the summit, at least temporarily, by clinging on for a 2-1 win over Wolves on Saturday, and Anderton believes they and Liverpool can keep things interesting at the top this season.
"Manchester City are going to be involved in it, there's no doubt about it," Anderton told Stats Perform when asked to name his title favourites.
"Arsenal are obviously still going well and Liverpool have come back this year, so I think it's going to be a little bit more open than it has been in recent years.
Three big points at home. pic.twitter.com/Q3tNskTLDJ— Arsenal (@Arsenal) December 2, 2023
"If you had to ask me, I would expect that Manchester City are going to be the team to beat again. I love Pep, I love the football that they play.
"Obviously, with Haaland, they've got a goal machine and they're always going to create opportunities and they're always going to keep strengthening and getting better and better.
"Everyone's got to try and keep pace with them."
Some tipped Anderton's former club Spurs for a surprise title bid when new boss Ange Postecoglou led them to an unbeaten 10-game start to the season, but injuries to key men James Maddison and Micky van de Ven have taken their toll at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in recent weeks.
Tottenham approach Sunday's meeting with City looking to halt a three-game losing run, having gone down to Chelsea (1-4), Wolves (1-2) and Villa (1-2) despite opening the scoring in each match.
Anderton believes UEFA Champions League football should be the primary aim for Postecoglou's team this season, saying: "I think, with Spurs, we need to get that win to get us going again.
"If we do, then we can go on another run like we did at the start of the season. For Spurs, I'd love just to see them back in the Champions League. That's the first step.
"There's no reason why that's not achievable, in my opinion. You might need a little bit of luck and to get players back as soon as possible, but that's definitely a goal that can be achieved."