Martin Keown declared that Unai Emery showed he was “too smart” for Mikel Arteta following Arsenal’s Europa League semi-final defeat against Villarreal.
They drew 0-0 at the Emirates Stadium, losing 2-1 on aggregate to the team managed by their former boss.
It was a great night for Emery and a terrible one for the man who replaced him.
Speaking on BT Sport, former Arsenal defender Keown said: “Villarreal controlled the events, controlled the tactics. Emery I thought was too smart for Arteta.
“It’s hugely disappointing. I thought we were nervous, tentative, and the performance just wasn’t there.
“And we shouldn’t really be surprised. When you look at the Premier League position – ninth in the table, 19 goals scored from 17 home matches.
“Inconsistency is rife through the group and it’s cost us. Villarreal haven’t really had to get out of first gear to manage Arsenal and that’s the disappointing thing about it.”
It leaves Arsenal without a trophy this season – and facing the prospect of no European football for the first time in 25 years.
Keown believes it could spell the end for Arteta – and that the night summed up how far the club have fallen in recent years.
“It does, without a doubt,” Keown said.
“To go unbeaten a whole season and now not even making Europe – it’s a real fall from grace.
“Are we now talking about a change of manager? There’s a crossroads that the club now find themselves at and this is the lowest night I can remember in a number of years.
“I think the manager starts to come under enormous pressure. You start to look now at the wisdom of a young manager coming in to take a job here that’s a huge job.
“His inexperience has cost him. He’s still here as manager and we’ll have to wait to see what happens on that.
“It seemed to me though that this was the rescue package and it just didn’t arrive.
“He was outsmarted by the previous manager which is always a bit of an embarrassment.
“We changed our midfield completely and it looked like something brand new to us.”