Martin Keown has claimed that Unai Emery ‘outsmarted’ Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta on Thursday night, but tipped things to go a little differently in the second-leg.
The Gunners left Spain trailing 2-1, a more than respectable scoreline, but there was little reason to be calm whilst watching.
We fell behind after less than five minutes of action, and did very little worth boasting about at all in the opening half.
The team did appear to come out with purpose after Mikel Arteta’s half-time teamtalk however, and even Dani Ceballos sending off didn’t stop us from building on our momentum.
Bukayo Saka’s forward run into the box eventually saw him dragged down for a penalty, which Nicolas Pepe dispatched of calmly as he slotted it down the middle, but at the final whistle, you couldn’t help thinking that we were lucky to have escaped with just the 2-1 scoreline, and better would be needed in the return leg.
Martin Keown claims that this fixture was telling of our entire campaign, where we have a bad performance, then a good one, and cited that even though Arteta was outfoxed on Thursday, he wasn’t ruling out us turning the fixture around.
Keown told his column at the DailyMail: “Arsenal’s inconsistency this season is perhaps best summed up by their performances in the Europa League knockout stages, with their two-legged ties invariably consisting of one good performance and one bad one.
“With that in mind, while Arteta was outsmarted by his predecessor on Thursday, he can still have the last laugh.”
Has our entire season been like this?