Arsenal toiled as they slumped to a second straight Premier League defeat at Fulham, meaning they have scored 20 league goals from open play this season; Jamie Carragher: “Are any of their forwards world class right now to take them to a title? I’d say no.”
Jamie Carragher has questioned whether Arsenal have a world-class forward line and says they must increase their goals from open play if they are to reignite hopes of a first Premier League title since 2004.
Mikel Arteta’a side sit fourth in the table after a 2-1 loss to Fulham at Craven Cottage added to a home defeat to West Ham on Thursday.
The Gunners have lost back-to-back Premier League games for the first time this season, missing two opportunities to move back to the top of the table.
Five games ago, Arsenal were six points clear of champions Manchester City but are now level, having played one more game with Pep Guardiola’s side in World Club Cup action before Christmas.
Speaking on Monday Night Football, Carragher said: “They got in front against Fulham but they didn’t create too much after that. You thought they would go on to win the game comfortably but Fulham were outstanding.
Arsenal have a problem defensively as they look really stretched with [Jurrien] Timber being out and [Takehiro] Tomiyasu only just coming back, [Oleksandr] Zinchenko missed the game.
“Set-piece wise, they’re usually so strong at both ends of the pitch so it was really a result off the back of the West Ham game. They’re two fixtures you look at and you think they should get at least four points – probably six – so to come out of it with nothing is a big blow for them.”
Arsenal had 30 attempts on goal as they slipped to a 2-0 loss to West Ham – but it was a different story on Sunday as Arteta’s side toiled to create chances on a wet and windy afternoon by the Thames.
Arteta described the latest setback as the nadir of Arsenal’s season – and part of the problem has been scoring in open play.
In 20 league matches, they have only scored 20 such goals, which ranks them 13th in the division, behind the likes of Bournemouth, Fulham, Nottingham Forest and Wolves.
For greater context, they rank significantly below the previous six Premier League champions based on their current attacking output. Right now, Arsenal are relying on set pieces – but is it sustainable?
No, they need to be scoring more from open play,” Carragher continued. “On a recent MNF with Freddie Ljungberg, we were almost debating this different Arsenal. And it is a different Arsenal to the one we saw last season.
“My feeling then was that if the attacking front three or four didn’t improve, I felt Arsenal wouldn’t win the league. I still believe that.
“When I say it’s a different Arsenal, there’s definitely more control. The best way to describe it is that last season it was a bit ‘Jurgen Klopp Liverpool’ and this season it feels more like Man City.
“There’s less transition, there’s more control which I think helps them defensively. But does it help them offensively?