‘Doesn’t quite believe in him’ – Keown claims signing ‘not quite ready’

Martin Keown has claimed that Albert Sambi Lokonga has shown that he isn’t ready for a first-team role at Arsenal, and that manager Mikel Arteta’s decision to drop him for Mo Elneny against Chelsea proves he doesn’t believe in him.

The Gunners have had to deal with the absence of Thomas Partey in recent weeks after he limped off the field against Crystal Palace, and our side had struggled to find form.

The boss moved to bring Elneny back into the fold for the clash at Stamford Bridge however and the decision paid tenfold, with our team ending a run of straight defeats to beat the Champions League winners by a 4-2 scoreline.

Martin Keown has backed his decision to make the change, whilst claiming that it shows that Arteta has reservations about his summer signing.

“It was the right call to bring Elneny into the team,” Keown told Stadium Astro watchers. Lokonga looks as if he is not quite ready, yet. They have an array of players, Guendouzi and Torreira are out on loan. Elneny was kept here for reason.

“Obviously, Arteta doesn’t quite believe in him [Lokonga]. Lokonga hasn’t taken the opportunity, and Arteta has gone back to Elneny. I don’t think he has ever let Arteta down.”

Lokonga showed glimpses of what he can bring earlier in the season, but when the going got tough in recent weeks, he hasn’t been able to step up in the absence of Partey. Whether the team’s performance can be put down to the return of Elneny is a reach, but he definitely brings experience to the side, and can keep a cool head where one is needed through the centre of the field.

Does anyone believe Lokonga should have been given the chance to start against Chelsea?


VIDEO – A great win for the Gunners at Stamford Bridge and Mikel Arteta was in an upbeat mood after the game…

Tags Albert Sambi Lokonga Martin Keown


  1. Arteta made a big mistake in replacing Partey with lokonga, Partey experience has been helpful to our young side, so the natural replacement would have been Elneny. When I heard Partey will be out for weeks I assume his replacement will be Elneny, how arteta didn’t see that I dnt understand. We could have gotten some points from the 3 straight Defeat with Elneny, that would have kept us in 4th position. I just hope its not too late

  2. I did say after one of our losses ..Holding in defense and Xhaka and Elneni in midfield…how did Arteta get that one wrong with Xhaka at LB….against Chelsea it proved us right….if we could see that then I will say that was weak from Arteta….so I don’t mind if Arteta is replaced

  3. I’m happy for the three points against Chelsea, but we shouldn’t read two much into the game.

    The real truth is, except for the outstanding Elneny, our midfield was porous and leaked like a sieve. We coughed up the football over and over again to a second-rate Chelsea midfield. And only won game because the Rudiger-less Chelsea defense was abysmal.

    The entire midfield, especially Xhaka, need to step-up their game for the rest of the season.

  4. We need to put Odegatrd behind the striker as he was always deployed . Against Brighton he was deployed at the center with Lognka and that too was a mistake . We play smooth football when Odegatd is higher up the pitch where he already have the chemistry with the forward players

  5. Absolutely not, Lokonga is not ready.
    No many players in defensive position that needs game reading can come from Belgian league to PL at 21.
    He needed gradual involvement as a sub.

  6. Spot on!
    I said it here many times in the past weeks. Infact as some point, I had a feeling Arteta has something against Elneny.
    However, kudos to him for finally making the right decision albeit a bit late.

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