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Oct 31, 2009

Redknapp: Arsenal won't win the Premier League

Harry Redknapp believes Arsenal's young side won't overcome the experience of Manchester United or the "powerful men" of Chelsea to be Premier League champions this season - and he also reckons there will be a change to the traditional top four.

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Tottenham boss Redknapp takes his side to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday with hopes of eventually joining or replacing Arsene Wenger's men among the Champions League places following their promising start to the campaign. Redknapp is not writing off the chances of his club's bitter rivals but feels United or Chelsea will be competing for the title.

"I think Arsenal are potential winners but personally I dont think they will win it, that's only my opinion,'' he said. "I'm not writing them off, they've got a good chance. But I think the winners will come from Chelsea or Manchester United.

"That's how I see it personally, I've been wrong a million times before, I could well be wrong but I see those two. Chelsea are powerful, they are men, you just feel they have that power. I think they will take all the beating.'' While Chelsea have "men'' in their ranks, Redknapp feels Arsenal's inexperience is a weakness.

"I don't think it's a soft centre, I think it's maybe a little bit of a lack of experience still,'' he said. "They're not an experienced team, it's still a young team, a fantastic young team.

"But I just feel Chelsea and Man United, they have players who have been there and done it all and been the full course in the championship race and that's where I think the winners will come from. And Liverpool, I'm not writing them off but I do fancy one of the two.''

Redknapp said he will look to profit from an attacking Arsenal side's overexposed defence when he goes in search of Spurs' first league win against their rivals in a decade. Their record on Arsenal's turf is even worse, with the last win coming in 1993.

"It's an attacking team isn't it?'' Redknapp said. "They go forward, they attack you, that's how they play. It's great to watch for sure. They have a go. The two full-backs probably wouldn't know what it was if you told them to sit in. They are like two wingers almost, the way they get up the lines and play.

"They attack from midfield, only (Alex) Song sits in but (Cesc) Fabregas goes, (Abou) Diaby goes, (Andrey) Arshavin is an attacking player, that's how they play. If you can get the ball and can attack them, you have got chances with them, for sure.''

Redknapp feels Spurs, Manchester City and Aston Villa will provide competition for the traditional top four, with the last team breaking through being Everton in 2005.

"I think there will be a change, for sure because they are getting stronger, Man City are certainly getting stronger, Tottenham are getting stronger, I think Villa have got stronger this year.''

Jermain Defoe is suspended so Peter Crouch looks set to start in attack, while David Bentley will replace injured Aaron Lennon on the right flank. Since scoring his wonder goal against his former club a year ago, Bentley's career has stalled and he has struggled for regular football. Redknapp admits the midfielder's profile means he may struggle to cope with his status as a squad player.

"If you said to anybody 'could you be a squad player?', they'd all say no,'' Redknapp said. "They all want to play. None of them would accept that.''

Meanwhile, Redknapp has backed England centre-back Rio Ferdinand to overcome his recent errors. Redknapp, who managed Ferdinand at West Ham, has been linked with the defender but said: "There's no chance of him leaving there if he has any sense. Unless someone knows something I don't know, he won't be coming here. I speak to him and send him messages. For me he's still the best centre-half in the world, he's that good. Everyone has a blip.''

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