Jamie Carragher and Martin Keown have taken two Arsenal stars to task for their roles in allowing Manchester City an all-too-easy win against them on Wednesday evening.
The Gunners arrived at Etihad Stadium needing an albeit-unlikely win to get their title challenge back on track. Having led the table for much of the season, Arsenal have seen their form badly falter in recent weeks.
As such, they arrived in Manchester hoping to get back on track against Pep Guardiola’s resurgent side.
However, their hopes were quickly extinguished as Kevin De Bruyne scored a brilliant seventh-minute opener to set them on their way.
Arsenal stayed competitive but were unable to impose their game on City. And when John Stones netted a second on the stroke of half-time, the writing was on the wall.
The Gunners did pull one back through Rob Holding, but not before De Bruyne had stroked home his second to make it 3-0. And Erling Haaland scored his obligatory goal late on to wrap up the win.
After the game, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta put a brave face on his side’s loss, and insists the Gunners will continue fighting for the title.
However, pundits Keown and Carragher were disappointed in the role two Arsenal stars played in the match.
And Carragher was quick to take goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale to task. The England stopper has been in brilliant form this season but has seen a few errors creep into his game in recent. And he was all too easily beaten by De Bruyne for both his goals.
Carragher takes Ramsdale to task, while Holding is also criticised
Discussing Ramsdale’s efforts at keeping out De Bruyne, Carragher said his efforts were “very poor”.
He was far from the only one, however, and Martin Keown turned his anger towards defender Holding.
And the defender was accused by Keown of allowing Haaland to ‘stroll around’ on an easy night.
“If I was playing, Haaland would be all I was thinking about,” Keown told BT Sport.
“Holding lost that battle. The very first challenge, that’s where they concede the first goal.
“You’ve got to put your marker down, you’ve got to be physical, maybe take a booking. But Haaland is just strutting around that pitch and it looked really easy at times.
“That’s something these young Arsenal defenders are going to have to learn, and learn quickly.”
Turning his attention to Haaland, Carragher reckons the display was the Norwegian’s best in a Man City shirt.
“Pep talking after the game about using Haaland with more direct passes. He was unplayable tonight when getting the ball early,” Carragher added.
“The centre-backs for Arsenal were not great, but very few defenders can cope with him physically. I think that was one of Haaland’s best game for Man City.”
Ian Wright feels Arsenal missed an opportunity
Gunners legend Ian Wright, meanwhile, feels Arsenal’s only chance was to get at City early on.
But having started passively, City were quickly able to control the tempo and play the game their way.
And he feels Gabriel Jesus needed to offer himself more centrally instead of drifting out wide of the box.
Discussing the Brazilian, Wright told Match of the Day: “What is was, it was the only way you were going to get something off them [City].
“You look where Jesus is [out on the left] and this is the only way Arsenal are going to get any sort of half chance. They did finally break through at one stage and then you look at that [no Arsenal players in the City box].
“That is where you want your striker because you are not going to get too many opportunities where are you going to be able to break into City and do that. That was five minutes in, you have to take it to put them on the back foot.”
Arsenal next face Chelsea in a London derby at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday. And they could find their position in top spot gone for good by then with City, now two points behind with two games in hand, travelling to Fulham on Sunday.