Roy Keane believes that Arsenal’s display against Manchester City indicates encouragement for their title aspirations.
He notes that their gritty wins are a positive sign. On the other hand, Jamie Carragher expresses concern about the goalkeeper situation, suggesting it could be their downfall.
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Following this week’s Premier League fixtures, Arsenal has moved six points ahead of their rivals. Despite some nervy moments from goalkeeper Davd Raya, the Gunners secured a seven-goal thriller against Luton. Meanwhile, City suffered a 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa the following day.
After 16 matches, the two teams are now separated by six points, with Liverpool and Villa positioned between them in the table.
Keane emphasizes the significance of Arsenal’s earlier league victory over Pep Guardiola’s team, considering it a crucial factor in their title push.
“The last three games [for Arsenal], the one at Brentford was a 1-0 win, a clean sheet way from home. It was an ugly game and a tough game, but I always felt they would get a goal in that game, and they did,” Keane said on the Stick to Football podcast, brought to you by Sky Bet.
“Then against Luton, they’re all over the place, giving bad goals away, but still won so they’re winning different types of games even if it’s a bit ugly.
“The biggest rivals last year [to Manchester City] was Arsenal and when they played last year, in two league games and the FA Cup, they were so far ahead of them. Whereas this year you look at Arsenal, and that will give them belief that they can compete and beat them.
“I don’t know if they had that real belief last year that they could beat them, but I think if you’re in Arsenal’s camp, you must think, ‘do you know what lads, we’ve got a chance’.”
The 1-0 league victory in October marked the second instance this season where Arsenal outperformed their rivals, having previously succeeded in the Community Shield. However, Carragher remains cautious.
During the same podcast, Carragher highlighted concerns about the goalkeeping situation in a season where Raya has supplanted Aaron Ramsdale as the first-choice goalkeeper.
“They are the two things [the goalkeeper situation and the last-minute goals] that’s making me think Arsenal won’t win the league,” he said.
“I can’t think of many teams, if ever, who have won a league title without a goalkeeper being a big part of it and I just look at the goalkeeper situation, and it doesn’t feel right. I look at the last-minute goals and it could be a good thing, it could be a bad thing.”
Arsenal has secured victory with goals in the final five minutes of a game on four occasions this season.
These instances include the recent matches against Brentford and Luton, the earlier triumph over Manchester City, and taking the lead in second-half stoppage time against Manchester United, followed by an additional goal right at the end.
Gunners manager Mikel Arteta was questioned about Raya’s difficulties against Luton in a post-match interview with Amazon Prime.
However, he refrained from assigning blame, showing reluctance to point fingers despite the goalkeeper facing criticism for his role in two of the Hatters’ goals.
“We have to defend better the situations as a team,” Arteta said. “It’s not about blaming. We have never done it and we’re not going to do it now.”