Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has dialed back a little on his title race predictions, pointing to Arsenal’s clear strength after their weekend win against Liverpool
Jamie Carragher suggested Manchester City were the real winners after Arsenal beat Liverpool on Sunday, but he believes Arsenal’s defensive strength means they can’t be ruled out of the title tace
Arsenal’s 3-1 victory over Liverpool came in part due to an error at the back from the visitors, with a mix-up between Virgil van Dijk and Alisson gifting Gabriel Martinelli a goal. At the other end of the field, though, Arsenal’s defenders gave their opponents little change and only conceded through an own goal from Gabriel.
Mikel Arteta’s team have now beaten title rivals Liverpool and City at home, while also drawing at Anfield. They still face a big trip to the Etihad Stadium at the end of March, but their strength at the back can’t be overlooked.
No team has conceded fewer league goals than Arsenal’s 22 this term, with Liverpool having shipped the same number. Speaking on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football, Carragher stood by his comments about the title race but gave Arsenal’s defence the credit he felt they deserved.
“They were better than Liverpool in all areas, but the big thing that stood out for me was how strong they were defensively,” Carragher said of Arteta’s team. “I never felt at any point in that game that Liverpool looked threatening or a goal was coming.
“Liverpool got a fortunate goal, we know that. I said after the game that I actually think yesterday’s result was probably a better result for Manchester City than maybe Arsenal, but Arsenal do have a slim chance of winning the title, and that chance comes a lot from how good they are defensively.
“I think defensively, certainly not just in goals conceded but when you actually look at the underlying numbers, I think defensively they’re the best team in the Premier League. You saw that with what Liverpool did yesterday in terms of their actual xG.
“You go back to Manchester City going to the Emirates, as well, a game Arsenal ended up winning 1-0. The two best attacking teams in the league, City and Liverpool, went to Arsenal and never looked like scoring. So that’s what gives them [Arsenal] a chance.”
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Gabriel’s own goal on Sunday meant the scores were level at the break, with Bukayo Saka having broken the deadlock in the 14th minute. Martinelli put Arsenal 2-1 in front in the second period, with Leandro Trossard – who replaced the Brazilian late on – scoring a deflected third in stoppage-time.
Carragher wasn’t the only pundit to feel City were the bigger winners from Sunday’s game. Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane shared the former England international’s stance, backing Pep Guardiola’s team for glory.
“I agree, I can’t see either of those two teams out there tonight finishing ahead of Man City,” Keane said. “Listen, I’ve been proven wrong before but you look where City are with [Kevin] De Bruyne coming back and [Erling] Haaland now available, I don’t see those two teams going right to the end keeping up with Man City.”
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