One throwaway comment from Jamie Carragher managed to trigger half the internet on Wednesday night.
The Sky Sports pundit was giving his analysis of Arsenal’s entertaining 2-2 draw with Chelsea at the Emirates when he remarked that he thought the Gunners’ front three are better than City’s.
Pep Guardiola’s preferred attacking trio of Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero inspired City to a record-breaking run of victories in the first half of the season.
Sterling and Aguero have 14 and 13 goals to their names respectively in the league this season with only Mohamed Salah and Harry Kane ahead of them in the goalscoring stakes.
While Sane is equal with team-mate Kevin De Bruyne at the top of the league’s assist charts with nine — the German winger has also scored on six occasions.
In terms of numbers, City’s front three appear to be well ahead of Arsenal’s.
And yet, you can understand where Carragher is coming from.
On paper, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Alexandre Lacazette is one of the most fearsome attacking trios in world football.
The Gunners’ German playmaker is the only man in history to be the season’s top assist provider in La Liga, the Bundesliga and the Premier League.
Sanchez has proven himself an elite performer at club and international level while Lacazette arrived from Lyon with a reputation as one of Europe’s most emphatic finishers having scored 37 goals from 45 games in 2016/17.
While all three have shone at times this season, many Arsenal fans have expected more from their star-studded front three.
They have expected Ozil, Sanchez and Lacazette to tear teams apart like, well, the way City have.
In contrast to Arsenal, City’s frontline seem to be worth more than the sum of their parts.
Aguero has been a world-class goalscorer for years now but he’s flanked by two youngsters still in the infancy of their careers.
Sane is undoubtedly one of the brightest prospects in European football but he’s only been performing at his current level for about a year — not long enough to fully convince some of the more cautious fans out there.
Sterling is the real spanner in the works in this equation.
Still just 23-years-old it feels as though he’s been around forever.
After two similarly inconsistent seasons in a Man City shirt, he has flourished under Pep Guardiola this term.
Incredibly, he’s on course to score over 30 goals in all competitions this season — something nobody would have predicted in the summer.
Carragher is almost certainly judging both attacking units on their overall careers rather current form and in that regard we’re inclined to agree with him.
But it’s impossible to shake off recency bias — that, and the Pep effect.
You can’t help but feel that Ozil, Sanchez and Lacazette would have produced similarly impressive numbers as City’s front three this season with Guardiola at the helm and the likes of De Bruyne and David Silva as team-mates.
Plenty of factors at play, now it’s time for you to decide…
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