Football Expert & Columnist
Not contenders yet
Arsenal need to win the 'big games' to be considered title contenders, says Jamie Carragher.
Last Updated: 23/09/13 4:07pm
Jamie Carragher says Arsenal need to win the 'big games' away from home to really be considered title contenders.
Arsene Wenger's side made it seven wins on the bounce with a 3-1 win at the Emirates Stadium against Stoke City on Sunday, putting themselves top of the Premier League.
But despite their rich vein of form which has seen them win their last 10 away games, Jamie Carragher believes the Gunners need to prove themselves title contenders by winning the important games against the top clubs.
"They're playing very well at the moment, they're top of the league and that's exactly where you want to be.
"The Aston Villa result seems a long time ago now and they've come on leaps and bounds since then. But there are a lot of big games to come and they will need to prove themselves in them.
"Once they start mixing it with the big teams and beating them away from home - that's when I think we'll see if Arsenal have a real chance of winning the title."
Manchester City laid down a mark of intention with a 4-1 thrashing of rivals Manchester United in the late Super Sunday game and Carragher believes that performance outshone those of Arsenal so far this season:
"I think they have been real contenders up until now; Before the Manchester derby we were saying they were the outstanding team in the league. But City's performance on Sunday has taken them to another level.
"I think it's going to be a season of up and down results, but Arsenal are top of the table and deservedly so. They've got to go and do something against Man City for everyone to sit up and take notice.
"I never really fancy Arsenal in the big games, especially away from home. They go to Old Trafford in a couple of weeks - let's have a look at them again then.
"If they lose that game, I'm not saying it's over, or they're finished, but I'd like them to go and start winning bigger, more important games," added the Sky Sports pundit.
Lack of depth
Theo Walcott was withdrawn from Arsenal's squad just five minutes before kick-off against Stoke with abdominal pain and it was left to 18-year-old German midfielder Serge Gnabry to make his Premier League debut.
This lack of experienced cover in the squad could cause Arsenal problems in their bid for league success, says Carraghe.
He added: "I think they might fall short in regards to their depth of squad. If we talk about Arsene Wenger he was getting a lot of criticism in the transfer window, but the Mesut Ozil signing seems to have put that to bed, because everyone is so happy with him arriving.
"But that might hide numbers in other areas where they're weak like you saw with Theo Walcott being missing today. They still got the three points but over a long season you might think they'll come short."