Keown criticises Arteta after Arsenal’s Europa League setback

Martin Keown criticised Mikel Arteta’s tactics and team selection after Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Slavia Prague in the Europa League.

The Czech side scored a late equaliser – a potentially crucial away goal – in the quarter-final first leg at the Emirates Stadium.

It increased the pressure on Gunners boss Arteta and followed a dismal showing in the recent 3-0 defeat against Liverpool.

And former Arsenal defender Keown believes the manager sent out “mixed messages” about whether he wants his team to play a pressing game.

Speaking on BT Sport, Keown added: “We couldn’t quite understand what was the team ethic. Are you going to press?

“It’s about pressing – collectively pressing. What I feel was a mistake was allowing an opposition to come and build from the back without any pressure to grow in stature and confidence and develop into the game.

“You don’t need to do that. You can hit them from the start by pressing all over the pitch.

“But everyone needs to know their role and responsibilities. We didn’t seem to know that. There were question marks about who was pressing.

“Are we going to do it some weeks and not other weeks? It’s difficult for me to understand which way the manager wants to play.

“I would prefer to press high, win the ball high up the pitch. By sitting off early in the encounter I felt they had the wrong tactics. It seems like Arsenal are not proactive in games.”

Keown also called for Areta to start with Gabriel Martinelli, who was again impressive after coming on as a substitute.

Keown said: “I really want to see him in the team. That guy cannot be held down. You’ve got to give him his wings.

“You’ve got to put him in the team and start believing in the right set of players.”

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