Jamie Carragher: Arsenal nonetheless lack a dominant centre-back and it is a fantasy William Saliba’s harm value them the title | Soccer Information


Jamie Carragher feels Arsenal nonetheless lack a centre-back of the calibre of Rio Ferdinand, Virgil van Dijk or Vincent Kompany and says it is a “fantasy” that William Saliba’s harm value them the title.

Arsenal’s problem was successfully ended with their 3-0 defeat to Brighton on Tremendous Sunday, with Manchester Metropolis now 4 factors clear on the prime of the desk having performed a recreation much less.

The Gunners’ kind has nosedived since Saliba suffered a season-ending again harm in March, with Mikel Arteta’s aspect solely taking 9 factors from their final seven Premier League video games in his absence.

Arsenal have taken nine points from a possible 21
Arsenal have taken 9 factors from a doable 21

However Carragher believes their defensive points have been obvious even with Saliba within the crew following the World Cup, and that they nonetheless lack a very dominant determine within the coronary heart of their defence.

“Defensively, that is been the huge drop-off,” Carragher mentioned on Monday Evening Soccer when requested why they’ve fallen quick.

“If you consider title winners, you undergo gamers in my place: Vincent Kompany, Virgil van Dijk, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Jaap Stam, John Terry.

“Once I have a look at Arsenal’s centre-backs, I do not assume they’ve fairly received a kind of but – regardless that Saliba could turn into that.”

Carragher highlighted statistics exhibiting that, whereas Arsenal have been nonetheless getting optimistic leads to the wake of the World Cup, their defensive decline truly started when Saliba was nonetheless within the crew.

Arsenal's defensive record before and after the World Cup
Arsenal’s defensive file earlier than and after the World Cup

“It tells you that, after the World Cup, they have been trying fully totally different defensively,” he mentioned. “They have been nonetheless getting the outcomes, however they have been conceding objectives.

“Then, with out Saliba, they drop even additional. Sure, that is the place they’ve misplaced it, and with Saliba, they have been nonetheless prime of the league, however this concept that they weren’t conceding objectives, or trying weak, with Saliba at centre-back is a fantasy.”

Carragher was, nevertheless, fast so as to add that Saliba, who has damaged into the French nationwide crew this season, has the capability to in the future attain that stage.

“I believe he is received the potential to be a Virgil van Dijk, a Vincent Kompany or a Rio Ferdinand, that kind of determine at centre-back,” he mentioned. “I am not fairly positive Gabriel has.”

Saliba’s harm left Arteta having to make use of Rob Holding and, extra not too long ago, January signing Jakub Kiwior within the 22-year-old’s place.

“I am not saying he would not have made an enormous distinction within the second half of the season,” added Carragher. “He would have, as a result of he is higher than Rob Holding, he is higher than Kiwior, there isn’t any doubt.

“However he was nonetheless making errors that have been resulting in objectives.”

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Gary Neville assesses why Arsenal have fallen behind Manchester Metropolis within the Premier League title race

Carragher highlighted particular person errors which led to objectives for Brighton’s Evan Ferguson on the Amex Stadium in December and Ollie Watkins for Aston Villa at Villa Park in February.

“I do not assume him being there for the complete season would have meant that Arsenal would have gone on and received the title,” he added.

“I am positive they might have been loads nearer, however there are nonetheless issues he wants to enhance on, to get to the extent I am speaking about, of different central defenders who’ve gone on to win titles.

“There’s nonetheless a means for Arsenal to go defensively. Proper now, they’ve conceded 42 objectives, with a few video games to go.

“You’ve got to return to the Nineties for examples of groups successful the Premier League when conceding over 40 objectives.

“If you wish to win the Premier League, with Man Metropolis round, you have to get 90-plus factors, however you have additionally received to have a look at objectives scored and objectives conceded.

“If you wish to win a title, you’ll be able to’t be conceding greater than 30 or 35 objectives.”

Carra: ‘Kiwior worst piece of defending I’ve seen’

Jamie Carragher was left unimpressed by Jakub Kiwior’s defending for Brighton’s first aim on Sunday.

The centre-back went to floor whereas the ball was nonetheless in play, making an attempt to place his boot again on and permitting Julio Enciso to attain.

“I believe this is among the worst items of defending I’ve seen all season from Kiwior,” mentioned Carragher.

“I can’t settle for that he was injured, that we went down and that his boot got here off.

“He’s received to rise up and defend. You might be preventing for a title. It’s actually poor.”

Neville: Arsenal failure to adapt pricey

Gary Neville, in the meantime, identified that whereas Arsenal’s defensive performances have deteriorated, Manchester Metropolis’s have improved, with Pep Guardiola exhibiting pragmatism by usually utilizing 4 pure centre-backs throughout his again line.

“Look what Pep was doing 10 or 12 video games in the past when he was taking part in Rico Lewis or Bernardo Silva [at left-back],” mentioned Neville.

“Pep was attempting to get again at Arsenal in fairly an progressive means, however a means that was inflicting them issues.

“He then began to play 4 centre-backs. Kyle Walker just isn’t a centre-back however he has performed there. [Nathan] Ake, [Manuel] Akanji, [Ruben] Dias, [Aymeric] Laporte.

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Talking on the Gary Neville podcast, the previous Manchester United defender says he at all times doubted that Arsenal would have the expertise to win the Premier League

“With what Pep has finished, Metropolis have in all probability performed their most pragmatic soccer, in these final 10 video games, to adapt to what Arsenal have been doing and the stress Arsenal have been placing them below.

“However he began to get clear sheets, he began to be actually critical concerning the defending half.

“I believe when you have a look at Arsenal in these previous couple of weeks – and Jamie has highlighted it beautifully – there are far too many holes.

“Overlook the Saliba factor, you have to adapt as a crew in some way. Whether or not that is going to the Etihad and sitting off, or being a bit extra counter-attacking.

“They by no means tailored, they at all times continued to play the identical means, and I believe that is actually value them.”


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