“They need somebody to slap them in the face almost” Keown slams Arsenal’s start to games

Martin Keown has slammed Arsenal for their poor starts to matches after their 1-1 draw with Slavia Prague.

The Gunners have struggled to start games well in recent weeks and that has seen them drop points even against teams like Burnely.

Mikel Arteta’s team wanted to end this season inside the top four, but their poor form has seen them spend more time in mid-table.

They knew that Slavia Prague was a dangerous team considering that the Czech outfit has eliminated Leicester City and Rangers from the competition already.

Yet Arteta’s side started the game sloppily and struggled for much of the match.

When they eventually took the lead, they still let themselves down and allowed their opponents to score a late leveller.

They have an uphill task in reaching the next round now and Keown thinks their problem is how they start games because they always need a wake-up call to start playing well.

He told BT Sport via Sun Sports: “For me it was about Arsenal tonight, and about the way they played and imposed themselves on the opposition.

“And by sitting off early in the encounter, I thought they had chosen the wrong tactics, and there was an opportunity to do that tonight.

“You’re the home team, so you take the initiative, and you ask them the question, can you play? Can you pass out from the back? We’ll see how good you are.

“But they were allowed to settle, to build, to be confident and then become more dominant.

“And in that first half it was quite tricky for Arsenal, and it became nervy and they weren’t the team that we’ve seen two or three weeks ago for instance, the West Ham performance, second half.

“It seems like Arsenal… they’re not proactive in games. They need somebody to slap them in the face almost, or punch them in the face, before they wake up and start to play.

“He did it today in the second half with the substitutions, he made that happen, but they couldn’t see it through.”

Tags Martin Keown


  1. That’s the manager’s job isn’t it? To ensure they are prepared and ready to play from the first whistle?

    It’s not just starting slow, it’s the tactics. How soon in games before we drop back and focus on defending in our final third?

    10 men behind the ball as usual with Arteta and we wonder why our attackers are sub par and we only take 5 shots on goal.

    Build up slow enough already, but 10 men playing defense guarantees opponents get back and organize.

    Starts and ends with the manager I always thought.

    1. I’m pumped that you’ve up the ante with your posting contributions Durand, especially since I’m trapped in the moderation zone

      with the summer window fast approaching and our prospects of securing a Champions League place appearing to be a bridge too far, especially following that lackluster performance in the EL, I have serious reservations about the possibility of this manager being allowed to make anymore roster decisions which could negatively affect the future of our club

      of course, it would be difficult to give him his walking papers should we win the EL, but if that doesn’t materialize I simply think he needs to fall on the sword for his short-sighted and irresponsible decisions last summer

      by failing to commit to the much-needed “rebuild”, he has likely cost us several more years of tinkering which could ultimately cost us some of our most talented young prospects, as they will invariably seek greener pastures or we will have to sell them to bankroll the “real” rebuild down the road

      I can only hope that he will see the error of his ways and at the very least take off the handbrakes, as we have nothing to lose League-wise, and adopt a much more aggressive tactical approach…we must take this time to actually learn something about the players we have and the only way to do so is to open things up and see what we’ve got…maybe we can actually salvage something from this totally underwhelming campaign

      1. I agree. I was quite optimistic at the start based on us having a young manager with some good young players coming through.I was prepared for an inconsistent season as long as I could see a progressive young side developing with a forward-thinking young manager. My alarm bells started ringing with the signing of Cedric and Willian in the summer on long contracts and the loss of the better goalkeeper Martinez.I understood the reason for keeping Auba on but not on such a huge contract. Starting the season with 9 Centre-Backs and no decent cover for the injury-prone Tierney was also a concern. Arteta is a very good 1st team coach but his tactics and decision-making are showing to me that he is not a good manager.

      2. RVL
        I’m just expressing the urgency, and the double standards between Arteta and his predecessors.

        Can we afford another season of “maybe, well I hope…” When he has shown so liitle if anything we have improved on.

        Frankly, I think both him and Edu should be gone and walking at season’s end.

        Our play is dreary, results are awful, and if fans were in the stadium players and Arteta would rightfully receive a symphony of boos.

      1. 👍 👍 👍
        Give youth a chance with the best of the current squad and go for it in a sensible, but not suicidal way.
        The SAS motto “Who dares, wins”.

  2. The league is undergoing a sharing out of of power these last 5 years.
    The previous United Chelsea City Arsenal closed shop top 4 has been challenged by Liverpool Tottenham Leicester and this season by Westham and Everton Leeds and Aston Villa
    So the top 4 has been replaced by a top 10.
    We actually have a soft run of games now in the league and could make 60 points which would be a small but nonetheless an improvement on last season. But advancing deeper into the EL is very significant too. Thursday nights game is massive

    1. We are on course for 53 points, how on earth can you seriously say we can get 60. Arteta is averaging our lowest points per game tally for decades. We are dire, no way are we getting 60 points get real.

  3. The moment I saw Lacacette going to defend and cover for Holding who was going to attack last night….. my mouth was wide open.
    The whole team is sick. I can’t even point to anyone for a good game. Only God knows which team will turn up against the blades.
    Let him just play Azezz, Balogun, Nketia, Nelson and co against the blades.

  4. Many months B4 I have said Capt.Aub and some players body languages are totally lacking.
    Especially the senior role model players.

    Like a company. Ceo can only move the company forward if the employees are of the same mind. Gaining support. If some employees are not supporting then they are not on the same mind. Ceo has to get rid of them.

    Tats what MA has to do. But at same time he has limited players. No matter what formations he used some players can perform some can’t. And Arsenal are known to not have enough funds.

    I still stick to my believe Arsenal will be in 7th to 10th position. So dun expect to do wonders this season.

  5. Some players have had three Arsenal managers and have not improved sufficiently.
    A typical example is a player with a very high and accurate pass rate ,looks good, however he plays short passes without creating anything and hid tackling and interception is non existent.
    Another player chooses the pass in attack that results in a lost opportunity, this is when a glaring forward pass is begging to be made.
    Performance and fitness issues abound at Arsenal, players who are unable to keep the ball, dredful passes, defence headers that go to the opposition and failure to shoot clinically or accurat .It was noticeable that once the goal was scored, all the forwards switched off completely.
    That there is a problem at Arsenal is not on doubt ,what the manager sees in training is not happening on the pitch. Some players are playing lip service and undermining the managers authority. Wonder which ones.

  6. The problem with Arsenal FC currently is just one..ARTETA..
    For a Pep Guardiola assistant n former midfieder who played alongside Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey n Alex Song..
    It’s shocking he can’t pick up forward-thinking n Mobile midfieders who will help us play our Famous exciting football.
    Good football leading to Titles start with having Quick, strong midfielders who pass d ball quickly..
    E.g Toni Kroos, Luca Modric, Gigi Wilnajdum, Matteo Kovacic, Ilkay Gundogan..
    But we have Stationary Xhaka, n Clueless Ceballos..
    Arteta doesn’t see this..
    D Man is a Big Disappointment to all fans…
    Once I see Auba, Laca, Xhaka, Pepe next season..
    could know Arteta n Arsenal are a Made-for-eachother Unserious n Incompetent Duo!!..

    1. Arteta is getting the lowest points tally per game than any manager in the last 40 years, 1.4 a game, which is dire for the squad he has. The guy is a massive failure.

  7. You don’t rebuild overnight, the players are not embracing the formation, injury prone team, nobody is saying we don’t have the last man in defence which is the goal keeper, if MA survive the season anyhow, I Know half of this team is gone. Europa is still open, and I know at worst top six is feasible. For me, I keep the faith with MA and the project at AFC.

    1. Until MA has all the players he needs to play the way he wants he should use formations based on the strong and weak points of the players at his disposition instead of imposing his tactics which do not work on them!

  8. It’s easy to criticize from the comfort of a couch.

    The one who drives a car by explaining how to with his mouth does not have an accident.

    Let’s see how many of you here and Martin keown included can manage a five aside Sunday league team.

    Let the man do his job, if the owners find it fit to sack him, so be it.

    And if they don’t, y’all be raving and ranting for nothing.

          1. Yes indeed.
            But circumstances are now different. A European trophy winner in Emery could barely do any better – and the table doesn’t lie. We have a newcomer. A man that the board believe will bring the club back but with no managerial experience to call on. It is not comparable. I’m not saying I’m Mrs Happy but I am realistic

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