‘That scoreline would do for Arteta on Thursday but…’ Keown says Arsenal have to attack Villarreal

Martin Keown has urged Arsenal to go on the attack when they face Villarreal in their Europa League semi-final return leg.

The Gunners scored an away goal in their 2-1 loss in the first match and it could tempt them into defending in today’s game and looking for a 1-0 win that will see them through.

Keown, however, doubts their capacity to defend and says they cannot gamble on keeping a clean sheet and earning a slender win.

The Gunners have kept just one clean sheet in their last four competitive games and cannot be trusted to keep one against Unai Emery’s men.

He says their poor record at the back means the best thing to do would be to go into the game pressing high and scoring as many goals as possible to push themselves through to the final.

He also urges Mikel Arteta not to use a false nine as he did in the first leg and start Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang instead.

He writes on Daily Mail: “Last week’s first leg was possibly the worst performance of Arsenal’s season. Thursday’s second leg needs to be their best.

“It’s important they use a No 9. Mikel Arteta’s experiment with a false nine didn’t work. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was put in front of the press on Wednesday, so you expect he will start up top.

“Regardless of what his critics might think, he is still one of the best strikers in Europe. Aubameyang scored the goals that won Arsenal the FA Cup last season — with braces against Manchester City and Chelsea in the semi final and final respectively.

“To have a marksman like him at the top of the team is important. It gives the group confidence and goals are what Arsenal need on Thursday.

“The chant used to go: ‘One-nil to the Arsenal.’ That scoreline would do for Arteta on Thursday but I’m not sure this team possesses the ability to achieve it.

“They recently went 14 games without a clean sheet. Arsenal could do with coming out on Thursday, pressing high, going after Villarreal and scoring two or three goals to get themselves through.

“This is a huge clash because Arsenal are at a crossroads — ninth in the Premier League but so close to the Champions League if they can play this right.”

Tags Martin Keown


  1. This is the best chance we got. 3-0 is the scoreline. God help us. Arsenal is in my DNA

  2. Go all out boys I mean all ballistic guns blazing and don’t forget to make the tinker man tinker bringing us all the joy we deserve am rooting for 3-0 scorelines

  3. I would play
    Chambers Holding Mari Saka
    Partey Xhaka
    Pepe Smith-Rowe Martinelli

    Ryan & Okonkwo
    Bellerin Luiz Gabriel Tierney
    Nelson Odegaard Willian
    Lacazette Balogun

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