Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville have admitted that it is too early to declare Arsenal as genuine title contenders until they beat some of the big teams in the Premier League.
Arsenal currently sit atop the Premier League table with 19 points, and this time it looks as if they might go all the way.
However, the Gunners haven’t won the league title since 2004, and their last major trophy was the FA Cup, more than eight years ago.
Arsenal have beaten Tottenham in the Premier League and Napoli in the Champions League, but the two Sky Sports pundits believe that Arsenal’s results against Chelsea and Manchester United decide where the team stands.
“We’re sometimes scared to say it about Arsenal,” Carragher 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.”
Gary Neville is full of praises for the current Arsenal squad, but did admit that it was 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.”