Martin Keown was full of praise for the Arsenal players in the first half of their 4-0 win over Slavia Prague in the Europa League today, but he singled out Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe for special mention.
Mikel Arteta’s side needed to be at their very best after allowing the visitors to earn a 1-1 draw in the first leg.
They started this return leg solidly and got rewarded with quick-fire goals in the first half which rattled their opponents.
They hardly gave their host the chance to attack and they were rewarded for their relentless pressing with 3 goals in the first 45 mins.
Two players stood out among the stars, with Saka and Smith Rowe delivering performances beyond their ages.
Keown watched as his former side attacked from the beginning of the game and earned a deserved lead at halftime and he said they were impressive in all areas of the pitch.
‘Really impressive and it’s all areas of the pitch,’ Keown told BT Sport at half-time via the Metro.
‘From the back to the midfield… and up front, you look at Saka and Smith Rowe, they are real talents.
‘Absolutely outstanding. Saka, he can play almost anywhere. We were listening to his PE teacher tell us what a good player he was in any position, he proved that tonight.
‘This fella [Smith Rowe], two nutmegs and the composure there. How’s he getting through there [when assisting Pepe’s goal]? He’s got composure determination, he doesn’t panic and this is really clever, little nutmeg and a second one with the pass.
‘Pepe, because he delays that shot with an extra touch, brilliant the way he lifted over the keeper.
‘We asked a lot of questions of them before the game and they’ve come up with the answers. They’ve done their talking on the pitch. ‘I’m really pleased actually, it’s the young players coming from the academy that are leading the way. It’s about bolting players on to that, they’re the present and the future and they’re showing that tonight.