Experienced players cost Arsenal against Olympiacos claims former Gunner

Martin Keown claims that the experienced players at Arsenal cost them their Europa League dreams.

It is safe to say that Martin Keown was left unimpressed by Arsenal’s players and Mikel Arteta after they crashed out of the Europa League last night.

The Gunners held a 1-0 lead from the first leg but they lost the reverse game 2-1 at the Emirates to the shock of many fans, Keown included.

The former Arsenal star condemned the players for letting a team that has lost 10 of their last 11 away European games get a win at the Emirates.

He also slammed Mikel Arteta for his decision making on the night and claimed that some of the decisions the Spaniard made showed just how new he is as a manager and how much more he had to learn before becoming a world-class manager.

He added that the Gunners were let down by their senior players who should have helped them and that the teenagers were the individuals who helped the team on the night.

He told Talksport: “I have been really impressed with Arteta… until last night,”

“I felt they started the game without pace.

“The opposition sat really deep and Arsenal didn’t have the answers and couldn’t find a way through, and at the end it was such a sucker punch.

Okay, you have to credit Olympiakos, but their away record in Europe is shocking – in their past 11 games they’ve lost ten of them.

“It was just too much for Arsenal last night.”

On Arteta not putting Gabriel Martinelli quicker, he added:

“I was incredibly disappointed with that [Martinelli staying on the bench], it seemed glaringly obvious to put him on,” continued the former defender.

“In fact, when Joe Willock went on in the 60th minute, Martinelli came running over to say, ‘when am I coming on?’

“Arteta didn’t put him on until the second half of extra-time and I felt he made the difference; he was involved in the build-up to Aubameyang’s great overhead kick goal. He gets into the box and makes things happen.

“Lacazette didn’t really show the movement last night, although I rate him as a player, and I felt it was an obvious change to make and the manager didn’t see that.

“I think Arteta has got to work it out a little bit quicker, work out the players he can reply upon.

“It’s about learning but there are experienced players who cost Arsenal last night, not the youngsters, the youngsters are the shining lights at Arsenal.

“I know there’s going to be a lot of comings and goings in the summer, there has to be, but he’s such a new manager and last night I think he maybe stuck with that formation just a little bit too long.

“Every man and his dog wanted Martinelli on the pitch last night, he’s been wonderful.

“I know it’s difficult… Arteta maybe felt he wanted to stick with people; you start with an XI and you want to finish with that XI, and you trust in them, but at some point that initiative needed to come from the sideline.”

Wow, Keown certainly had a lot to say but it is hard to disagree with most of what he had to say. It may just be one single game but to doubt that this game has set Arsenal back would be a mistake, it has, significantly so.

The road to next seasons Champions League is now far more difficult, the repercussions where Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is concerned has yet to be calculated and who knows how much the defeat last night will have damaged the team’s fragile confidence.


  1. He’s right. And they’ve been letdowns all season. You can only blame Emery so much. They don’t care enough and some just aren’t playing close to the levels we’ve seen them at previously. They’ve got to go and Arteta needs to make tough decisions. His buddy-buddy relationship with Ozil and Lacazette needs to be finished. These are players that needs benching or selling this summer. They wouldn’t even be on a City bench so why they are in our XI shows how far we are falling.

  2. I guess this game justifies what innit said about a few days ago after the Everton game about the jury still being out on Arteta which I supported and a lot of fans slammed innit for that. His substitions are still very poor
    We were playing 70 mins trailing by a goal and no shot on target and still you don’t think as a coach to change something? He made a rookie mistake even emery wouldn’t. He started almost the same players that have played 3 games in 7 days. At some point, they will get tired, why do you have players on the bench if you don’t trust them to play. Martinelli has been the star of the europa up till now, and you leave him on the bench? Ever since that boy started to get recognised, he’s been seeing less game time than usual. Why does Arteta have a problem with this. It doesn’t take a genius to see auba on the wings and laca as a 9 doesn’t work. As a coach you observe and make changes accordingly. Now we are out of europa and we don’t know the fate of man City, otherwise no champions league football again next season. Then auba leaves at the end of season and we are stuck with a poor lacazette. Tbh, emery would have not panicked like Arteta did. He would have mixed fresh legs with experienced ones. Like how is bellerin better than niles? What did niles do to Arteta. I’ll tell you if it wasn’t for the injury to kolasinac against Everton, we were probably gonna start seeing less and less of saka. The same trend niles and Martinelli followed. I hope this teaches fans not to be to expectant. We are a work in progress, far from where we want to be but don’t let us get ahead of ourselves by saying we are back on top like we’ve been saying before the awful defeat of last night. I said the fans are fickle and we were one bad game away from seeing the same people that hailed Arteta call for his head. Arteta has had a little bit of luck on the road otherwise this type of wake up call defeat would have happened sooner
    Still supporting and hoping Arteta does well as our coach but I’m not putting too much pressure on him to perform. Jury is still out on him but he’s young and can learn from mistakes hopefully.

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