Football Expert & Columnist
Arsenal: Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville say bigger tests await
Jamie Carragher says Arsenal must beat the big boys before being declared genuine title contenders.
Last Updated: 22/10/13 10:56am
Arsene Wenger's side are two points clear at the top of the Premier League after eight games following Saturday's 4-1 demolition of Norwich, but haven't won the title league since 2004 and their last major trophy was the FA Cup more than eight years ago.
And while Arsenal have picked up impressive victories over the likes of Tottenham in the Premier League and Napoli in the Champions League this season, Sky Sports expert Carragher wants to see how they fare against Manchester United and Chelsea before tipping them for the title.
"We're sometimes scared to say it about Arsenal," he said on Monday Night Football.
"If this was Man United or Chelsea or Man City then we'd all say they can win the league, but because they've gone so long without winning a trophy or challenging for the championship then we get a little bit scared of backing them for the title.
"But the form that they're in makes them look like the most impressive team in the Premier League at the moment.
"Before the Napoli game we thought it was a big test for Arsenal and they wiped the floor with Napoli.
"In a few weeks they play some of the big hitters. The thing that's often mentioned about Arsenal is that they always win the easy games, but what they've got to do now is win the big games. They need that mentality, physicality and intensity in their play.
"They've always beaten these types of teams. It's when they come up against the big teams - Chelsea, City and United - that I'm never confident they are going to win the game."
Spurs are the only team in the top half of the Premier League that Arsenal have beaten this season and fellow Sky Sports analyst Neville says the fixture computer has been kind to them.
He was eager to praise the four stunning goals that they scored in Saturday's clash with Norwich, but said it's too early to know if they have title-winning potential.
"They scored four brilliant goals - team goals with everyone seemingly involved in all the play," Neville said.
"They've always tried - or been accused of trying - to score the perfect team goal, but they sometimes do it.
"The big question that everyone's asking of Arsenal now is 'is this the real deal?' Is this the team that can go on and win the championship?
"They are doing everything that's been asked of them at this point in the league. They have such confidence and belief.
"Look at Wilshere, Ramsey, Ozil and Cazorla... you really wouldn't want to play against them in this form.
"We've always defended Arsenal, even when they weren't getting the results they wanted, because we always believed the football was fantastic.
"So now on the point that everyone maybe thinks they can win the league, you would put a note of caution on it."