Jamie Redknapp and Jamie Carragher agreed that Arsenal’s opening-day win over Crystal Palace could turn out to be a defining result in their season.
Arsene Wenger’s side appeared to be heading for first-day frustration as they were locked 1-1 with their London neighbours going into the closing stages of the game, only for Aaron Ramsey to strike in injury time to secure all three points.
And speaking on Saturday Night Football, Sky Sports pundit Redknapp said Arsenal weren’t on top of their game, but can now build confidence and potentially launch a title push this season.
“I said before the game that if Ramsey can chip in with little goals like that, scruffy goals or “Lampard goals” as I call them then it could make all the difference for them,” he said.
“If he can get 15 or 20 goals for them again this season, then he’ll be such an important player for them.
“Arsenal weren’t at their best, let’s not kid ourselves, but it’s such a big result. This time last year they lost 3-1 to Aston Villa and there was a lot of doom and gloom. These results, when you’re not at your best and pick up three points are so important for momentum.
“Goals are something Aaron Ramsey has added to his game. That’s confidence. When things are going your way you become like a magnet in the box. Every time the ball bounces he’s the person that it falls to.
“Two years ago that would probably have bounced to someone else, but he’s playing with confidence now and those goals are going to be all important this year.
“I know there’s a lot of doubts about Arsenal, but if they can keep him fit and with people like Giroud and Ozil to come in and maybe one or two players before the window closes, then why can’t they mount a challenge?”
The Arsenal players celebrated vehemently at the end of the game after overcoming a Palace side that parted company with Tony Pulis this week and had Jason Puncheon sent off in the final 10 minutes.
But even though the performance was unimpressive, Carragher said the manner of the victory could provide a springboard for Arsenal’s season.
“When you win like that, late on in a game, it feels like so much more than if you’d won 3-0,” he said.
“You saw some of the reactions of the players at the end of the game like Laurent Koscielny, Calum Chambers and Aaron Ramsey, I thought it was the last game of the season and they were doing a lap of honour!
“That’s what it feels like sometimes when you win a game late. They’ll realise how important that game is.”