Arsenal has suffered back-to-back losses to fall out of the lead in the Premier League, and Jamie Carragher pings that on the standard of forwards in the side. After falling to Fulham at the weekend, the Sky Sports pundit noted Arsenal only has 20 goals from open play this season. The Liverpool icon said this is a different Arsenal from last season, the one that came close to winning the title before capitulating late in the campaign.

Speaking on Monday Night Football from Sky Sports, Carragher said the lack of goals from open play has been detrimental. It has not been an issue of creation of the chances, but rather their conversion. For example, Arsenal had 30 attempts at shots toward the Arsenal net. In total, Arsenal had three shots on target. That included Bukayo Saka’s goal after five minutes that put the visitors ahead.

“The goal against Fulham saw them go from one end of the pitch to the other. An end-to-end game suits the likes of Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka. Kai Havertz has come in and for me that hasn’t worked because both at Chelsea and now at Arsenal, you’re not quite sure where he plays. Out of the front four, Martinelli is the one who is really struggling.”

Last season, Martinelli scored 15 goals in the Premier League. That was tied for the best for Arsenal with Martin Odegaard. This season, Martinelli has started 17 games, but he only has two goals. One of those was the game-winning goal against Manchester City.

Carragher says Arsenal is struggling to score in the Premier League

Arsenal has not had an issue controlling the ball. It regularly dominates possession statistics even in losing efforts. The Gunners average 60.3% of the ball, which is tied for third in the Premier League. In the last two losses against West Ham and Fulham, Arsenal held 75% and 61% of the ball, both of which are above that average. Carragher ponders whether that possession is almost too stagnant.

“It made me think whether they are too organised in attack. We see the same repetition but is there enough off-the-cuff? When was the last time you can remember an Arsenal player in those front three or Odegaard scoring a worldie? It’s all a bit too organised. They’re all having really good seasons but the gold standard of shot conversion is 20-plus. That’s what your Mo Salah, your Erling Haaland, your Harry Kane is getting.”

Martinelli, Odegaard, Saka and Gabriel Jesus have all dipped in their shot conversion statistics this season. Last season, that quartet scored 55 goals. Over the halfway point this season, they are at 15.

The need for a ‘world-class’ player

Carragher believes each of those four players is phenomenal. Yet, the Premier League is so strenuous that oftentimes one player makes the difference for a league title.

“All four of Arsenal’s front are top players but none of them are world class. I think Saka can become world class, but in this league, Liverpool won a title because they had Mo Salah.

“City have won titles in the past because they had Aguero and they’ve now got Haaland. Is that enough for Arsenal to win a league title? Are any of them world class right now to take Arsenal to a title? I’d say no.”