Jamie Carragher believes Arsenal are genuine title contenders after making a fast start to the new Premier League season. After winning six of their opening seven games, Mikel Arteta’s men sit top of the tree thus far.
Reigning champions Manchester City and north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur – who are both unbeaten – are just one point behind the league leaders, but taking the Gunners’ early season form and performances into consideration, Carragher thinks that they do have a shot at winning it all this campaign.
“If you actually watched Arsenal this season, you’d never seen it before, they do look like they could be title contenders,” he told TalkSPORT.
“I’ve always been a huge fan of Mikel Arteta, I really like how brave he’s been, certainly last season [as he] brought in all these young players, now their 12 months older, but the signing of Jesus and Saliba coming in at the back almost feels like [its] completely changed the whole aspect of Arsenal right now. I think they could be a lot closer than what people give them credit for.”
👀 “If you watch Arsenal, they do look like title contenders!”
👏 “I’ve always been a huge fan of Arteta. I like how brave he’s been.”
🔥 “I think they’ll be a lot closer than what people give them credit for.”
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) September 22, 2022
However, Carragher’s one of the few pundits who categorises the Gunners as true challengers. Whilst most have acknowledged that they’ve improved, some, like Alan Shearer, aren’t entirely convinced that Arsenal are ready to beat Manchester City and Liverpool at the very top.
Speaking about Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Brentford last weekend, Shearer told BBC Sport: “It’s not time to talk about them as title contenders yet, but people now know that this is a different Arsenal to the team we saw just 13 months ago. The Gunners’ 3-0 win at Brentford on Sunday epitomised their progress under Mikel Arteta, because we all remember what happened in this fixture on the opening weekend of last season – when the Bees didn’t just beat them, they bullied them.
“Everything was different about Arsenal this time – in attack and defence, plus the way they controlled the game, and with their attitude and intensity. They ran out comfortable winners.”
Shearer continued by explaining that Arteta deserves great credit for transforming the attitude of this Arsenal side: “Only four of the Arsenal team who started that defeat against Brentford began Sunday’s game too – Ben White, Kieran Tierney, Granit Xhaka and Gabriel Martinelli,” he added. “In just over a year, Arteta has not just built a different team, he has transformed the mood of the whole club.
“He deserves great credit for that, because he got a lot of criticism after the way they started last season, with three straight defeats. This time, they have won six out of their first seven league games and go into the international break at the top of the table. They deserve it too.”