Arsenal legend Martin Keown slammed the performance of Thomas Partey and Willian in the club’s disappointing 1-1 draw with Slavia Prague in the Europa League.
Arsenal were wasteful in the first half but finally managed to take the lead through substitute Nicolas Pepe in the 86th minute. It looked like the winning goal but the Gunners were pegged back at the death with Slavia Prague grabbing a crucial away goal.
Keown slammed Partey and Willian for their frustrating display saying it was disappointing watching them play.
Speaking to BT Sport, Keown said, “Partey was a player that really disappointed me. Watching it live here, he didn’t look like he had the legs to get around the pitch, he wasn’t bossing that midfield. But that was an area of the pitch that, by now, I thought he’d be bossing.”
“I feel at times when he gets the ball he slows Arsenal down, walking with the ball,” he said.
“What I want to see is that acceleration. It’s okay to slow down sometimes but it needs to be quick-slow-quick-quick-slow, there’s no change of pace. I’m not seeing enough from the player. There was an opportunity for him today, it’s frustrating because we know it’s under the bonnet but we’re not seeing it on the pitch.”
Keown further explained he feels Nigerian born Bukayo Saka should take the role of Willian on the right flank.
“Maybe he can play Saka on the left-hand side. I thought the left-hand side for Arsenal looked particularly weak until those changes,” he said.
“Willian wasn’t really in the game, Cedric doesn’t give us the width without [the injured, Kieran] Tierney. ‘If you can’t keep a clean sheet you’ve got to do more going the other way. Arsenal could have scored two or three goals tonight.”
The Gunners will now put their focus on their next match against Sheffield United in the Premier League.