|Desc||Martin Keown was a true warrior. He did not know what it meant to surrender. However, he was also an outstanding man-marker. Had he not been so loyal to Arsenal, his intelligent defensive game would doubtless have thrived on the continent|
|Club as Player||Arsenal FC|
2007 11 13 Retrieve
[Martin Keown while co-commentating on Birmingham v Villa] De Ridder trying a couple of legovers there, just like Ronaldo
2015 02 01 Retrieve
[Arsenal 5-0 Aston Villa] There were many calls for Arsenal to sign a new defensive midfielder before this transfer window opened but, in the last few weeks, they have found a new way to win without needing new players to do it
2015 08 20 Retrieve
[Martin Keown on Thierry Henry] I do remember saying to him when he scored his first goal, ‘I’ll be able to tell my kids I played with you’, and I meant every word of it
2015 08 21 Retrieve
[Martin Keown on Thierry Henry] Thierry Henry was like an international sprinter - he just had boots instead of spikes on. When he was confident, he such rhythm and a style of movement. It was very graceful but he did things with a swagger. That’s what was so good to watch
2015 08 22 Retrieve
[Martin Keown on Thierry Henry] There is no doubt in my mind that he is one of the best players (that) have ever played football
2015 11 28 Retrieve
[on Patrick Vieira] You look at Denis Bergkamp and you look at Thierry Henry and people say they are great players and rightly so. There are statues of these guys outside the Emirates Stadium, but without Patrick winning the ball and giving it to them they would almost be redundant. But sometimes during the week it was as if his non-football playing brother turned up for training instead, we used to call him Mr. Floppy, but on a match day he was a different animal
2016 02 17 Retrieve
[on Tony Adams] I think Tony’s technique was excellent and he was actually quicker than a lot of people realised, especially over longer distances. That made him excellent in one-on-one situations. Tony [. . .] always wanted to win and drag everybody over the line with him
2016 09 17 Retrieve
[Keown compares Aleksandar Kolarov to Bobby Moore] He looks magnificent. He wants to roam out with the ball. I’m sure the manager is watching him and thinking ‘is he my perfect central defender?’. Because the way he comes out is almost Bobby Moore like… he’s a great talent, Kolarov.
2019 08 06 Retrieve
[Martin Keown says Philippe Coutinho would be a very exciting signing for Arsenal] It’s a shame to think that it is far-fetched when they could have been real possibilities. I would love to see him at Arsenal without a doubt, he is a great talent who has lost his way a bit but I think it is too much to hope for that he ends up at Arsenal. He’s a top quality player, the way he breaks from deep-lying midfield positions, his shooting ability - it’s a mystery why it hasn’t gone well for him at Barcelona. It would be a very exciting signing
[Emery - despite much talk of a move for Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney - is set to head into the 2019-20 campaign with a defensive unit that has drawn plenty of criticism in the past] He must think he can do it tactically with the players he has. Otherwise it’s very obvious that he should have been buying central defenders, or defensively minded individuals both in midfield and at the back. So he has made decisions in regards to the personalities he wants and he’s gone after and pursed this talent, so that’s a gamble because we know there is a weakness and only time will tell if he’s got that right
2019 08 08 Retrieve
[Martin Keown says David Luiz is not Arsenal’s answer to their prayers] Yes, Arsenal want a centre back, but is Luiz the answer to their prayers? I don’t think so. The way the 32-year-old plays, he would be exposed in that Arsenal defence. He would not get the same protection that he enjoys at Chelsea, where N’Golo Kante patrols in front of the back line. In possession, Luiz is a wonderful passer, but he makes mistakes when playing as part of a back four. He has a tendency to lose his marker and is one of those all-or-nothing players - if he doesn’t win the ball in a challenge, then congratulations because you’re in.
Luiz is clearly a big personality. Maybe Emery thinks he can control the Brazilian - they crossed paths at Paris Saint-Germain - but him missing first-team training with Chelsea on Wednesday is a red flag. Let’s not forget that Arsenal have just been forced to sell a player to Bordeaux who did this to them. Laurent Koscielny was club captain and always came across as a good egg, but he still made sure he got his move. He refused to take part in their pre-season tour of the United States. That proved how even the most well-balanced player is prepared to rock the boat in a bid to get his way. Do Arsenal really want to be on the receiving end of someone willing to kick up a similar fuss now? That’s why I question whether he (Luiz) would be suitable for Unai Emery.
2019 08 12 Retrieve
[Martin Keown says Harry Maguire reads danger like you or I read a Beano comic!] Harry Maguire reads danger like you or I would read a Beano comic. It comes naturally to the 6’4 central defender and that is what Manchester United have paid good money for. When he wins the ball, it is a cue for United to attack. Take a look at their second goal against Chelsea on Sunday. The England centre-back wins possession by shrugging off the challenge of Tammy Abraham on the edge of the box. Scott McTominay picks it up, feeds Marcus Rashford, who then finds Andreas Pereira. He crosses, and Anthony Martial scores. So four passes and precisely 16 seconds after Maguire steals the ball off Abraham, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have a 2-0 lead. United fans appreciate a good defender.
Later on in the game, whenever Maguire won a header, whenever he cleared the danger by lumping the ball into Row Z, it was greeted by cheers. They love seeing that and the statistics show he made the most clearances, the most interceptions, and the most blocks. He inspired the crowd and his team-mates here. United kept two clean sheets in 19 Premier League outings at Old Trafford last season. They conceded 54 goals in total - the most of any of the ‘Big Six’ - and 25 of those came at home. Now, they are off and running in 2019-20
[Keown added on Maguire, who has enjoyed a meteoric rise to prominence in recent years] I know of big clubs who were tracking the 26-year-old back when he was just a teenager breaking into the first team at Sheffield United. I was surprised when he went to Hull for only £2.5m in 2014. He had potential but none of the big boys in the Premier League took a chance at the time. Now, after paying £80m, Manchester United have him. This was a very good day for Maguire and Solskjaer’s new signings
2019 08 17 Retrieve
[Keown says of the impression Ceballos has made on the Arsenal support] He looks a good prospect, certainly at home. If he can produce that away from home, then Arsenal really will have all their prayers answered this season. I think it’s a good while since we saw a debut that good from an Arsenal player. I think he’s excellent, a really good addition to the group. Hopefully he’s going to have a big future at Arsenal, he’s been miles ahead of anyone else in this game.
2019 08 24 Retrieve
[Liverpool (3) vs (1) Arsenal. Martin Keown has admitted he has been embarrassed by Arsenal’s recent displays away at Liverpool as the Gunners prepare for another trip to Merseyside] It’s been embarrassing to be an Arsenal fan. I’m not confident because in the last two seasons Arsenal have been absolutely awful away from home. There have been almost two Arsenals: one that plays very well at home and one that goes away from home and almost capitulates … so I’m very interested to see what improvements have been made
[Keown believes that the ex-Paris Saint-Germain boss must remain consistent in his selection and tactics] You’re going to have to prove there’s been a huge change. Fight, scrap and play your football, be brave, take them on. And with tactics, I hope Emery doesn’t tinker too much. The manager has to keep it simple, don’t keep changing it. Twenty-three times last year Emery changed from a back-three to a back-four; if you’re trying to process as a player, you’re thinking: ‘Am I a wing-back or a full-back this week? Football is a simple game, keep it simple, keep it settled and go there with a plan
[Keown is aware of the threat Liverpool possess going forward but knows Arsenal have the firepower to make things difficult] Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette are a threat and can score goals, although Liverpool look quite magnificent at the moment
2019 09 02 Retrieve
[Martin Keown says Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka may be on borrowed time at the Emirates Stadium following his display in the North London Derby] Granit Xhaka is so bad at tackling that Arsene Wenger once admitted he had told the £35 million midfielder not to bother anymore. I would encourage him not to tackle, to stay on his feet,’ Wenger said, and what we witnessed against Tottenham was classic Xhaka. He gifted the visitors their spot-kick by sliding in on Son Heung-min, right under referee Martin Atkinson’s nose. Did he really think that would end well? Then his constant fouling interrupted Arsenal’s flow. The hosts lost momentum because he kept breaking up play. This is what Xhaka does. He is like a fire engine that turns up and discovers the house has already burned down - he’s that late! He does more damage than good when it comes to tackling, so no wonder Wenger told him to stop trying. I suspect Xhaka may be on borrowed time in this team. He could soon find himself behind others in the pecking order
Matteo Guendouzi put in possibly the best performance I’ve seen from him in an Arsenal shirt. Lucas Torreira has to be a starter for me, and Dani Ceballos is looking good. Emery will have to look at the pros and cons and decide whether it is even worth persisting with Xhaka. Overall, this was a great game for the neutral. It was like basketball. You attack, we attack. But Emery has work to do. Arsenal looked lethal up front, but vulnerable at the back. Emery will want to balance that out
2019 09 14 Retrieve
[Martin Keown says Manchester City may have secured an historic domestic treble in 2018-19 but Arsenal’s Invincibles of 2003-04 remain the best side of the Premier League era] Of course they were the best! I’m not messing about, that team could have won in any era. I saw them develop from young men, I was the senior figure then and they matured into a fantastic group of players, they were world class. Thierry Henry was like an international sprinter with football boots instead of spikes. Dennis Bergkamp with his vision, it was unbelievable. Watching him perform was like watching ballet. Robert Pires on the left and Freddie Ljungberg on the right, he doesn’t get enough plaudits. Then that midfield; Gilberto Silva, a World Cup winner, and Patrick Vieira alongside him, another World Cup winner. Then there’s Sol Campbell at his absolute peak at the back
[Manchester United are the most decorated side in the competition’s history, with Keown conceding that the Red Devils’ treble winners of 1999 are the only team that gets close to Arsenal’s best] I think the only team that comes close is Manchester United’s treble-winning 1999 team, I think that would have been the big play-off
2019 09 19 Retrieve
[Martin Keown on Lucas Torreira’s performance] It was the best all-round midfield display I have seen in an Arsenal shirt since Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva used to run the show. Torreira and Vieira could not be more different in terms of size and stature but their drive and determination is exactly the same. His tireless running gave Arsenal an extra body all over the pitch. You got the sense that if he could, he would happily do everyone else’s job!
2019 09 19b Retrieve
[Martin Keown says Arsenal teenager Bukayo Saka looks to already be a greater threat than club record signing Nicolas Pepe] They toil away, trying to get young players in and they’ve found one in Saka. You think of the way Nicolas Pepe is playing at the minute, they paid £72m for him and this kid looked better than him tonight. When Saka gets the ball, he shows composure, he’s passing it into the goal, it’s a beautiful finish. To think he’s 18 years of age. By the way, Willock as well, he’s got his reward, this has been a breakthrough moment for him. He got a little bit lucky, but that’s all 100% the academy, that first goal for Arsenal. I think this is the exuberance of young players. I think this is a breakthrough moment for Willock. He’s been a bit rushed, lacks a little bit of composure, but I love his energy and he gets his reward tonight to put Arsenal in front
2019 09 27 Retrieve
[The former Gunners defender believes Unai Emery may have made a mistake in allowing an inconsistent and temperamental figure such as Granit Xhaka to take the armband] This is a massive call and I think perhaps he [Emery] has got it wrong. This is really going to divide the fans. There are times when Xhaka goes missing in midfield, he’s given penalties away … he must be an incredible character off the pitch! It’s surprising, particularly how he was booed off the pitch less than a week ago. It’s a brave decision by the manager, he’s picked him every time he’s available so he clearly believes in the player, but I’m surprised, I must say.
You need to be sure the captain is going to be in the team and he’s on borrowed time. There are others in that group, Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi, Dani Ceballos, who are starting to progress, so if Xhaka is still going to be a permanent fixture than I’m surprised by that. I would have gone for Aubameyang, he would have been a pretty good fit. It might have given him a little more extra responsibility. He’s doing fantastically well at the moment and he’s secure in the team, he’s a regular.
It’s a bold move from Emery and he better get it right. I was just reading the statistics about the number of shots the opposition have had at Arsenal’s goal this season, the number of unforced errors - Arsenal are the top of all these lists, and it’s because Emery is not getting the balance right with his team. He’s been in the job a year now and things are going to have to improve away from home. It’s a massive test on Monday [against Manchester United]. If you get results, everybody stands by the decisions, but this is a massive call and I think perhaps he’s got it wrong.
Within that dressing room, clearly, obviously, he’s a leader because that’s why they voted for him. The players want him, but it’s interesting the manager couldn’t see that for himself and he needed to throw it to the players. We have to respect that, but really it’s about the performance on the pitch and I want more from him in midfield. I don’t want silly, crazy tackles, I want him to sit in front of the defence, I want to be picking out those diagonal passes, I want to see him talking to players, cajoling players and in their ears. I want to see those leadership skills on the pitch, not just in the dressing room. I haven’t seen that so far. The vote on confidence, the actual armband, can do big things for you, so I hope it does that for his game.
2019 10 01 Retrieve
[Martin Keown says Arsenal have unearthed a gem in Bukayo Saka] Arsenal had to show plenty of determination to come back from 1-0 down at Old Trafford. Let’s not forget this is a team that has struggled away from home under Unai Emery, especially against the Big Six. London-born lad Bukayo Saka embodied that fighting spirit on Monday night. The 18-year-old winger caused Manchester United all sorts of problems, and it was his quick-thinking which saw Arsenal leave with a point. The moment Saka picked up the ball after a misplaced pass by Axel Tuanzebe in the 58th minute, he did not hesitate. With one touch, he put Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang through. It looked easy, but do not underestimate this pass. It was the earliness of that ball which hurt United. He read the situation.
Harry Maguire was trying to race back because he was playing his opponent onside. Saka had to be quick, and he was. He fed Aubameyang, and it became 1-1. Arsenal look like they have unearthed a gem in Saka. He looked like the £72 million winger on show. That is not meant as a dig at Nicolas Pepe, their summer signing from Lille, but rather a compliment for Saka. Only a deflection denied him scoring the winner, too. What a talent he looks
2019 10 03 Retrieve
[Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe problem! Europa League key to solving £72m signing’s difficult start] Arsenal look like they have unearthed a gem in Bukayo Saka. He looked like the £72m winger on show
2019 10 04 Retrieve
[Martin Keown says Arsenal overpaid for £72m Nicolas Pepe and Lille are laughing all the way to the bank] If you think back to Arsene Wenger, he would never have blocked the path of a young player but they are in danger of doing that with Bukayo Saka. Pepe, is he going to get into the team? It’s a massive amount of money they have paid for him and Lille will be laughing all the way to the bank with that one. It’s still early days and maybe the player will turn it around but I haven’t really seen what I expected to see from him
[Keown added, with the talented 22-year-old picked out among a number of impressive displays against Standard Liege] I said when I saw the team how promising it was. Some really good performances, particularly Tierney, Hector Bellerin maybe not quite ready. Gabriel Martinelli up top, really good for the club, great signing he looks like, really promising. But Tierney looks the closest to pushing his way, forcing his way, into the team, a bit early for Bellerin. Rob Holding as well, nice and solid, I like the midfield, Joe Willock, Lucas Torreira, there’s cases for them maybe forcing their way into the Arsenal first team. Competition for places is what Emery wants. I was out of my seat a few times for Tierney on that left-hand side. Kolasinac is under pressure and, when players are under pressure, that’s when they have to perform. Holding as well, wherever you look in that Arsenal performance, it’s really promising for the rest of the season
2019 10 07 Retrieve
[Martin Keown claims Lucky Arsenal must improve to make top four] It’s been a difficult week for Arsenal and I thought they pressed really well [against Bournemouth]. The intensity in their play, that is what every good team is looking for. It’s not just playing with the ball, it’s what you do without it. I thought they started the game very well. Everyone was engaging, they forced Bournemouth back and they were struggling a bit.
[Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang is trying to fix the play and everyone else is engaged, so they play it long, and Arsenal win it back. Then they can be creative and this is what Arsenal are good at. They’ve got that creativity, they’re well probed. They’re all on the front foot, ready to break. But in the second half they seemed to switch off. Aubameyang, you are scoring the goals but you need to work harder. I know it’s tough but you can’t allow space, Bukayo Saka as well. [Dani] Ceballos is late, they don’t engage properly and the back four is far too deep. Maybe Granit Xhaka should push in a bit closer. That left space behind the full-backs, so Bournemouth were running wild into those spaces.
It’s a problem for Arsenal when it goes into the front players, they need to be better at that. David Luiz scored the winner but he must get back, help the team. Arsenal were lucky on a number of occasions. Ceballos, the poor guy is there on his own. The two other midfielders need to get up the field. These are things you definitely need to work on in training because better teams will punish you. That has to improve if they are to finish in the top four
2019 10 07b Retrieve
[Another former Three Lions star, Martin Keown, agrees that Rashford is making life too easy for defenders] They started playing balls long into Rashford and I feel sorry for him because he survived on scraps but he should do better. If you look at his body language, I think he’s starting to despair for what is around him. Rashford should be getting into the box, he’s got to get into that area. A number nine for Manchester United scores goals in there. He should protect the ball better. I don’t really want to have a go, particularly at him, but I do feel he is a magnificent player but he’s not affecting the defender. He’s not getting the service, it’s a combination of the two. He wasn’t effective
2019 10 08 Retrieve
[Martin Keown explains what Ozil needs to do to save his Arsenal career] I think it’s disappointing that someone with that amount of talent can’t find his way into an Arsenal team. And again, that’s about balance. That’s about a player wanting to graft and show the other side of his game. Until he does that, he won’t be in this new Arsenal team
[Keown has thrown his support behind Emery as he looks to craft a side that can again challenge for honours] I’m not close enough to Emery to know how charismatic he is, what personality he has. He strikes me as being a thoroughly good guy, which is a good starting place. I think Emery’s the right man to turn it round. He’s had a good year now and I expect it to really pick up for the rest of the season. As long as the players take everything on board, and there’s clear messages to the players, I think he has the tools to be successful. Maybe it goes over to the manager now, the pressure’s on him to get the right balance, pick the right players, get behind them and put Arsenal back in the Champions League
2019 10 19 Retrieve
[Martin Keown claims Mesut Ozil’s situation at Arsenal has become embarrassing] It’s embarrassing for the football club that he is not featuring for Arsenal. He has to take a look at himself. It can’t be everybody else’s fault. I don’t care what he’s earning to play for the club, it’s an honour to play and while you are there you make your mark. At the moment, is he setting a good example in training? As a senior player I would make sure that the youngsters would follow on
I would graft, I would work, give everything I could. I would be collective and help the group around me. I wouldn’t be talking about me. He’s looking about and saying ‘I’m not playing now so don’t blame me’. Well … No. It’s about the collective - it’s not about you. How do we get you in the team now to get you back in the group? That’s the next step for Ozil now. The opportunity is there. I don’t see him saying anywhere he is desperate to play. For me, the oxygen every weekend was to be in that team and I would bust a gut and I want to see that from Ozil.
2019 10 24 Retrieve
[Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown also backed Nicolas Pepe to build on his super substitute showing] Every player needs that moment, that turning point. Even for the Bergkamps, the Henry, Robin himself. To settle, and hopefully now Arsenal can see what they paid for. £72m was seeming very expensive until tonight. But this is just the start hopefully, and how he takes it forward, he runs with freedom, he can express himself. I think, basically, he’s kind of got that off his back now, that pressure, and he can release himself now and play
2019 10 25 Retrieve
[Arsenal star told he is wasting his talent as Martin Keown tears into second-string] Well [Hector] Bellerin’s playing in his preferred position, [Calum] Chambers has taken his first-team berth in the Premier League. It looked like he was feeling sorry for himself and there’s no time for that as a professional footballer. Really poor touch and they’re away for the second goal. It’s a wonderful finish but Maitland-Niles is all at sea. He should receive that ball on his back foot, he turns into trouble, and that’s laziness, sloppiness. The player has got great ability but he’s wasting his talent at the moment
[Plenty of fringe players were given an opportunity to impress, but few are considered to have taken that chance] You need to be right mentally. You’re the second-string XI, you’re watching the first-team play, when you play you can make your mark. I didn’t see the hunger. [For the first goal] I thought [Rob] Holding could have gone across, [Kieran] Tierney’s the wrong side, no one getting back in midfield. Far too easy and that will worry the manager. It’s not complacency, it’s a lack of hunger. You’re there to make your mark at a football club, you want to make it difficult for the manager when he comes to select the team for the weekend and nobody at the moment is doing enough
2019 10 29 Retrieve
[Martin Keown says Unai Emery is partly responsible for Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka’s foul-mouthed tantrum at the weekend] Sunday was not the first time Granit Xhaka has been jeered by his own fans. It happened on September 22, too, when Aston Villa visited. Villa were leading 2-1 at the time and Xhaka was substituted to a chorus of boos. Arsenal, despite being down to 10 men, went on to win 3-2 without the midfielder. Then five days later, Unai Emery named Xhaka as captain anyway
[Keown also hit out at Emery’s method of letting the players at the club chose their own captain for the season] Emery is as much to blame as anyone. If you let the players pick their skipper, then it becomes a popularity contest and that is not what leadership is about. I’ve never had a manager who decided the captaincy that way and, for me, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is still the safer bet.
2019 11 04 Retrieve
[Martin Keown says Arsenal are in serious danger of missing out on a top-four finish once more] We are 11 games in now and the Premier League is beginning to settle down - we have got an idea of how the season is going to play out. I still don’t think anyone will end up finishing close to Liverpool or Manchester City because their quality and depth is so well established. But it is hard to back against the rest of the current four staying where they are, based on what we have seen so far.
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard is a novice in this situation but look how well he has taken to it with the run they are on - a club record seven successive away wins. Leicester are flying too, only two points behind City, and it is significant that they are six points above Arsenal, who they play at the King Power Stadium next Saturday. I make the Foxes massive favourites going into that game - in terms of form, and the way both teams are playing at the moment, they should be very confident of winning it. It is not a situation I would have expected at the start of the season but this is the perfect game for Leicester - and a chance for them to put even more distance between them and one of their so-called rivals for the top four
2019 11 06 Retrieve
[Martin Keown says Arsenal have problems all over the pitch] There are problems all over the pitch. It can quickly be turned around. If I was involved in the weekend I’d go on the attack because we can’t defend. We are in danger of losing some of the identity of the team built under Arsene Wenger. We cannot defend and have lost that attacking flavour. I think it’s a personal thing of how you mark up in set-pieces. There are huge gaps. All they did was put a ball in and run through the hole. They could put a double-decker bus through that! It’s too simple. It’s basic decision-making and they need to change
2019 11 15 Retrieve
[Martin Keown says Alexander-Arnold can take Winks’ place for England] He is an absolute a joy to watch play. It was as if he was wandering around Wembley with a golf bag, picking up a pitching wedge or a seven iron. The capability he has with his left foot, right foot … . I was sat with Sol Campbell trying to argue that he should play centre midfield for England
Traditionally you give the ball to a midfield player and he is a better player than you and a midfield player gives it to a front player who is also perhaps better than that player. When Winks gets the ball, is he better than Alexander-Arnold? I take nothing away from Winks because he had another decent night but I think Alexander-Arnold could go in there and pull the strings for England. We have a catalogue of other full-backs that can be used in that right-back position. Kyle Walker wasn’t even in the squad, Kieran Trippier didn’t play, we have Reece James coming through at Chelsea. He is more than capable Alexander-Arnold of playing in the England midfield
2019 11 15b Retrieve
[When asked if the Spanish manager can help Arsenal rediscover past glories in the long term] Only time will tell us that, but at the moment it’s looking like, ‘no’. It doesn’t look right. We’ve lost that brand of football Arsenal had, the beautiful football they played under Arsene Wenger. We’re losing our identity and we need to get it back really quickly. He looks like a man under pressure. He’s getting fractious in the media in terms of his communication, every time we see him it’s three-word answers, it’s not quite the projection the club will want. He really needed a break and he got one, so he’s got to bounce back now. The board will back him as long as they can, but he needs to improve the performances. I wish Emery well, but I believe we’re now on borrowed time
[Keown is certain a repeat performance would cost Emery his job come May] He’s just being reminded that if Arsenal don’t reach their objectives, which is to make it into the Champions League, then he’ll be without a job. That goes with the territory. Arsenal are striving to get back into the big time, to be in the running to win Premier League titles and to get into the Champions League, and it’s fallen by the wayside. Emery’s remit when he came in was to make Arsenal no longer a soft touch, to be more solid, to be stronger. But he’s been there 18 months now and the problems that were there before he came still exist
2019 11 18 Retrieve
[Martin Keown says England’s defence still poses a selection dilemma for Gareth Southgate] Southgate will have left Kosovo asking himself questions. Who starts at the back alongside Harry Maguire? I’d go with Joe Gomez. Southgate likes to pick players who play regularly for their clubs. Gomez has not been starting as much as he would like for Liverpool, but I’d break that rule for him.
Tyrone Mings, who has come a long way in a short space of time, encountered a couple of tricky moments on Sunday night. He sat very deep and did not always deal with Kosovo’s balls into the box. John Stones seems devoid of confidence, too. So that is an area for Southgate to look at. At least his full-backs pick themselves. The attack-minded Trent Alexander-Arnold does not always act as a right-back, but that is because he is one of the best going forward. In a one against one, Ben Chilwell is very tidy. He goes forward with good quality and, more often than not, provides that end product
2019 11 20 Retrieve
[Martin Keown says Arsenal should be considering Pochettino] There’s no need for panic at Arsenal, we are getting close but the people at the top of the club should be considering Pochettino. I think this is a hugely significant sacking that could cause massive ripples throughout the Premier League. Managers will be looking over their shoulders now. A lot of chairmen will want him. Real Madrid would take him, I think Arsenal would have to look at him
[Keown is concerned about the direction Emery is taking the Gunners] We’ve lost that brand of football Arsenal had, the beautiful football they played under Arsene Wenger. We’re losing our identity and we need to get it back really quickly. He looks like a man under pressure. He’s getting fractious in the media in terms of his communication, every time we see him it’s three-word answers, it’s not quite the projection the club will want. He really needed a break and he got one, so he’s got to bounce back now. The board will back him as long as they can, but he needs to improve the performances. I wish Emery well, but I believe we’re now on borrowed time
2019 11 20b Retrieve
[Martin Keown insists that there’s no need for Arsenal to go out and fire Emery immediately, but they have to consider making a change before too long] There’s no need to panic at Arsenal, we are getting close to panic by the way, because we’re not having the best of seasons, but the powers that be at the top of the club should be seriously considering Mauricio Pochettino. I have a lot of admiration for what he did at Tottenham, the way he nurtured those young players and he didn’t spend a great deal of money. I don’t think Tottenham spent enough
I would have stayed with Pochettino; I think he deserved that. I think it’s a hugely significant sacking. You’re going to have managers now looking over their shoulders. I know the poor record he has recently, I know it all but I still would have given him another chance. I don’t like the way Tottenham have done it. There will be a lot of chairmen looking at him now. Manchester United wanted him this time last year. I think Arsenal would have to be interested if they want to take a step forward
2019 11 21 Retrieve
[Martin Keown criticises Unai Emery for continuing to overlook Lucas Torreira as a regular starter] Torreira has not been playing full stop. I’d like to see him in the Arsenal midfield. Whether you play him as a deep-lying midfielder or you play him wide or with someone else sitting deeper or two either side…it doesn’t matter as long as he is in the team. He hasn’t played enough for me
I would have thought it would have been very obvious that he has to play. He’s tenacious. The Chelsea game at home, the Liverpool game at home last season, he was playing in that team and Arsenal looked better for it
This is why I think the fans went against Emery because Granit Xhaka played no matter what when Torreira had to sit on the bench. Ceballos plays one game for Arsenal [against Burnley] and was absolutely brilliant but he’s back on the bench. Maybe it’s Xhaka he needs to take out
2019 11 21b Retrieve
[Former Arsenal star Martin Keown believes there will be ‘concern’ within the Tottenham squad after the club’s decision to appoint Jose Mourinho] The last we saw of Mourinho he had fallen out of love with football. Publicly scathing of his players, having to be dragged away from press conferences, talking about his successes. He needed a rest, he needed to re-energise
We need to see now what Mourinho is going to turn up because if it’s the same one that left Manchester United then this isn’t going to last. I mean even a successful Mourinho does three years maximum so it’s one of those where in the media it’s an enjoyable ride, so lets see what happens but if you are a player then I would be concerned at Spurs as to what sort of manager he’s going to be
I would be tempted to pull the manager and say ‘Look if you’re going to start that b**s - how are you going to be with us? If I was a senior player I would be talking to the manager about how he’s going to treat us. What am I expected to see publicly? Be honest with me. I look from afar at Manchester United and I don’t enjoy what he did to those players
It’s an issue for him. He’s an amazing champion, a trophy winner but in his quest to win things I think he can be suffocating and I think he has to realise that he has to jettison that side of his personality otherwise he’l; bring the whole thing down like he was at Manchester United
2019 11 21c Retrieve
[Keown believes the impact of Spurs’ move to a new stadium cannot be underestimated and that a lack of investment in recent years undermined the work Pochettino wanted to do] He’d been there five years. In those five years, four of those he’s made it to the Champions League - including one final
I feel like we were heading towards another Arsenal really. I know Arsenal built a new stadium but you could argue that Arsenal’s success dried up when the reality of paying for the stadium [became clear]
There’s not been enough investment in the Tottenham team in the last two years. Harry Redknapp [a fellow guest at the event] said they have Harry Kane up top but you need other players to come in. Then you could have sorted out some of the other issues like contracts
Players sign contracts when they see others coming in, people sign contracts when win trophies because they don’t want to miss out on the success of the club. But when you’re not winning things it’s too easy to say ‘we’re not going to win anything here, we’ll have to find this utopia somewhere else’ and that’s probably why those three key players [Eriksen, Vertonghen, Alderweireld] have since decided that we’re not going to win anything here because they’ve been so close so often
2019 11 23 Retrieve
[Torreira was superb, producing a string of impressive performances that culminated in his man-of-the-match display against Tottenham in the north London derby 12 months ago] It was the best all-round midfield display I have seen in an Arsenal shirt since Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva used to run the show. From the first whistle the Uruguayan controlled the midfield. He was utterly fearless, demanding the ball at all times, always eager to snap into tackles and snuff out danger. His tireless running gave Arsenal an extra body all over the pitch. You got the sense that if he could, he would happily do everyone else’s job! He made the midfield his own
2019 11 23b Retrieve
[Arsenal given Aubameyang & Lacazette transfer warning by former Gunners great] Well it’s imperative that you hang onto your best players. That’s always the first thing every summer - you want to keep your players first and then add to it. You wouldn’t want to lose Aubameyang or Lacazette but they’ll only stay if Arsenal are successful. There’s no time to lose for Arsenal, they have to go to work very quickly. There could be some difficult decisions ahead.
[Keown is not surprised by a lack of movement on the contract front at Arsenal] Of course they’re waiting [to sign a contract] but they can change history themselves. They can make the change because they’re there, they can inscribe a name on a trophy every year. They are good professionals. I don’t have a difficulty with those two, it’s more how good is the team? Is the team well enough equipped? If they don’t think it is then they won’t sign and we’ll lose two other good players. That’s normal. It’s no different for Arsenal as it is for Spurs or Chelsea
2019 11 26 Retrieve
[Martin Keown believes the club is a ‘sinking ship’ under current coach Unai Emery] Arsenal are lost at the moment. This season only Aston Villa and Norwich have allowed more shots against them in total than Unai Emery’s side. Alarm bells must be ringing at Arsenal. This is currently a sinking ship and the fans made their feelings known at full time. In 1996 David Dein brought in Arsene Wenger and finding his successor after 22 years at the helm was a huge task. They gave the job to Emery but that is beginning to look like it was the wrong move. Now the decision-makers at Arsenal have another big call to make: do they stick with Emery or look elsewhere?
Southampton have not won any of their last eight Premier League games and lost 9-0 to Leicester. Yet, at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, it was hard to tell which was the team more in crisis. Southampton looked better than Arsenal…Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men had 21 shots to the hosts’ 12
[Keown suggested that star Gunners players wouldn’t renew their contracts] If they decide to stick with Emery then the manager has big decisions to make himself. I warned against Arsenal signing David Luiz in August and I wonder if he should be taken out of the team now. Certainly star players like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Lacazette will not be signing extensions unless things change
2019 11 28 Retrieve
[Martin Keown says decisions have got to be made about Unai Emery’s future] I think he may now have taken the team as far as he can. We just witnessed an absolute shambles of a performance in that second half. The team selection, the team motivation, the substitutions, the performance - everything was missing here, it was a dreadful performance. I think you have to go back … the fans turned many years ago on Terry Neill, I was at the football club when it happened, and things got very toxic within the club. I think we’re getting close to that again. Is he able to motivate this team? He seems to have lost the players. The desire seems to have ebbed away
I know change was needed. Wenger was at the football club just a little bit too long, but now it looks as if the club has got to go in a different direction now. We’re going only one way at the moment. This is relegation form. Do the club really realise how tricky this is now going to be? Decisions have got to be made. There are some football people at the top of the club - make the decisions that need to be made because otherwise, Arsenal are going to plunge even further down the table. I feel it’s very sad. The fans, there was hardly anyone there tonight, they’ve voted with their feet. They knew what was coming there
2019 11 30 Retrieve
[Martin Keown says Arsenal bought a problem when acquiring David Luiz from Chelsea] I wouldn’t be playing David Luiz in the Arsenal team now if I was anything to do with the coaching staff at the club. It’s very difficult to question it from a medical point of view when somebody goes off injured, but I don’t feel with bruised ribs that you go off in a game of that importance to the manager. He drops so deep that he’s killing the whole team. He hasn’t got a defensive bone in his body and Arsenal went and bought him to solve their issues at the back. By taking David Luiz, Arsenal just bought a problem from Chelsea. That was the beginning of the end for Emery in the summer, because he didn’t address the problems Arsene Wenger left behind. They’re still not solid enough
[Keown is relieved to have seen Emery’s difficult reign in north London brought to a close] It’s actually a relief the board has actually made the decision. Arsenal have become very sad, they’ve become a shambles and it’s time for the club to get its identity back. We’ve lost our way, we’re just not competitive and it’s very serious. We’ve got huge problems. If you look at it in terms of recruitment, Ivan Gazidis only really had to make one decision in the 10 years he was at Arsenal, and he got it wrong (choosing Emery as Arsene Wenger’s successor in May 2018). The managerial structure at Arsenal, I don’t know if it’s in disarray, but we have an ageing board and maybe this is an opportunity for the club to address that. Of course there’s a lot of wisdom in our board, and I respect that, but it’s about energy and a new direction for Arsenal
2019 12 02 Retrieve
[Martin Keown claims The problems at Arsenal are obvious] There has been lots of speculation about who Arsenal want as their next permanent manager but I am not really bothered specifically who that person is, more about the set of values and qualities that they will bring. I want someone with charisma. A good communicator and a motivator, who can bring the right balance to their style of play. Above all, though, Arsenal need a winner. Someone with a long-term vision for the club, and the ability to see that vision through.
So it is a bit concerning that there does not appear to be a clear plan in the type of manager that the board wants - you only have to look at the very different profiles of all the names being mentioned to see that. That kind of fits in with the recent issues there have been in the boardroom, and the different directions people in different positions at the club seem to want to go in. I am not sure who will decide who the next manager is, but hopefully part of the interview process will be to ask any candidates what sort of changes they would make to the team. That should make it an easy interview for most managers, because it is quite obvious - strengthen the centre of defence and midfield and Arsenal can be a real force in the Premier League
If it is going to happen, it is not just down to him - there is going to have to be a shift in mentality from the Arsenal players. By that - and I am obviously speaking as an ex-defender here - I mean a realisation by the players of what is required when they are not in possession, and also a willingness to actually go and do it too. There is no magic wand, and there is a reason a lot of what we have seen from Arsenal so far this season, we saw again on Sunday
2019 12 07 Retrieve
[Martin Keown says Arsenal’s long-held reputation as team that’s difficult to beat is now gone] We worked for years to build this reputation of Arsenal being difficult to beat, now that’s gone. It’s ebbed away from the club and it’s got to return very quickly. For me, at the moment, this is relegation form. Now, I don’t believe they will be relegated, but they are just five points from the bottom three! We’ve got West Ham away at the weekend, and then it’s Manchester City, Everton, Bournemouth, Chelsea and Manchester United. These are very, very difficult games and they’ve got to go to work. Over a 22-year period we moved away from the ‘difficult Arsenal, hard to beat, 1-0 to the Arsenal’ and turned into a very creative team - we’ve got neither now. We haven’t got the original difficult to beat or the expressive, creative, artistic Arsenal. We’ve got to get one or the other back. Freddie has tried to be creative, but we’re not staying in games long enough to be able to play that way
[Keown went on to highlight Arsenal’s defensive fragility] Gilberto Silva met me the other day and he said, ‘I still go to bed at night hearing your voice ringing in my ears, because you kept saying, sit here! Sit here!’. I had to organise that not just for myself but for the team - you have to protect the team. There is no defensive compass whatsoever in this side and their defence is getting no protection whatsoever from the midfield. They’re either all the way back sitting in close to the defence or they’re all the way up and the opposition is in behind you. I never see an argument with the midfielders and defenders saying, ‘where are you’, ‘push up behind me’, or vice versa
2019 12 12 Retrieve
[Martin Keown says Arsenal were guilty of a lack of desire and Freddie Ljungberg was lucky to see his side draw 2-2 with Standard Liege in the Europa League on Thursday] One thing you need when you’re a manager is luck and Freddie Ljungberg was very lucky tonight. The game changed when [Gabriel] Martinelli came off the bench tonight - 69th minute, a young player, a desire and a work-rate you’d expect from the senior players. I didn’t see a role model in that team. He came on and changed it. The older players were a long time getting to that level for Arsenal. I think Freddie Ljungberg should have kept it simple. He should have played a back four, pretty much the same team he played the other night. There was too many changes. We need to get back the desire and hunger from the players. And while Freddie is in charge, he should be implementing that change at Arsenal
I was so disappointed with the lack of desire and hunger from the team. Keep it simple. As a young coach I wouldn’t have even bothered going to a back three. I wouldn’t have been certain I understood it well enough. I would have picked the same players to say, ‘When you work with me you work hard, you’re not staying back home relaxing, this is now about work ethic’. There needs to be a change in mood. That’s gone from Freddie, he’s limped through tonight. You can’t turn a tap on and off so quickly. But they’re going to be seeded, so that’s
2019 12 13 Retrieve
[Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown certainly has no love lost for the Red Devils, but few came out to contradict him when he launched a savage criticism back in October] They’re so inept in possession. Fred, it’s almost becoming a joke when he gets the ball. I know it’s good closing down but you’ve got to be able to control it and pass. If that’s the central midfield then there’s not going to be anything created
2019 12 17 Retrieve
[Martin Keown says Arsenal want Arteta because he’s in the Wenger mould] Mikel Arteta has worked with Pep Guardiola since 2016 and I regard the Manchester City boss as one of the finest to ever manage. That philosophy he came from, his Barcelona education, the way they pass the ball. It is in the mould of Arsene Wenger, that brand of football, and perhaps that is why Arsenal believe Arteta might be the right man for the job.
There have been plenty of names linked, from Patrick Vieira to Carlo Ancelotti to Massimiliano Allegri. But to see two Arsenal chiefs emerging from Arteta’s house early Monday morning suggested they had their front-runner. Reports emerged on Monday night that the Spaniard will now meet with Josh Kroenke, too, so they are making progress and being diligent
[Keown added on the challenges Arteta will face if he is to be handed the reins] If confirmed as their new head coach, Arteta will want to get to work immediately. He will want to bring in his backroom staff - something Freddie Ljungberg was unable to do while interim - and get on the training field with those players. Let’s not forget the January transfer window is fast approaching, too. There is big work to be done at that club over the coming weeks
2019 12 21 Retrieve
[Martin Keown didn’t enjoy it after Everton and Arsenal share points in dull] Very poor. It seemed like the game was too much for some of the players. Really disappointing, devoid of any real quality, passes going astray
2019 12 20 Retrieve
[Martin Keown says Arteta is the right appointment because he understands Arsenal’s values] I’m quite excited about the prospect of Arteta coming in. He has an emotional link to the club, he understands the values of the club, what it represents, what’s at stake and the feeling of the fans
And because of who he’s worked with. I know he hasn’t got the managerial experience and that’s the worry, but just look at some of the positives. That think-tank he’s been a part of with Guardiola - that professor of soccer. They know how to press and know how to defend as groups, he’s got all of that stuff at this fingertips. I do feel in time this could be the right appointment. It’s a huge gamble but if there are no big managers out there, this is the next kid on the block. He’s coming out of the same group as Guardiola, who followed on from Cruyff … Arteta has the same education. But is he a good educator? Can he get that message across? Can he motivate? This guy will hopefully implement all of that and put the tactics in place. There’s a lot of work for Arteta, but if he can do what they do at City for Arsenal, we’ll all be happy
He has to go in and sort things out. Defend as a team! The team are quite fragile structurally from a defensive point of view, but that’s not just the defence, it’s the whole team. They don’t know what to press together. Tactically they are very naïve. Team intelligence doesn’t exist for Arsenal, so what he has to do is educate the players to play in the way he wants to play. That’s going to take an awful lot of time for this group of players. It’s not going to happen straight away, there won’t be a magic wand, but there will be lots of training sessions and he’s got to get that across
2020 01 03 Retrieve
[Martin Keown sees no reason why the Reds should not be looking to replicate Arsenal Invincibles] You might lose other games in other competitions, as they have done, but you have that extra shell, a coating, an armour, that you’re really proud about the run. There is never an inquest to a defeat, because there isn’t one! In one whole year they’ve ever had to look at one another with that disappointment. When I was in that dressing room with those players I’d look around and say, ‘I’d go to war with you guys’. That attitude is unique! You look around and think, how long can we keep achieving this? And there will be a concern that if they lose a game that they could lose a couple, but they’re in the zone. It’s quite remarkable form
2020 01 03b Retrieve
[Martin Keown recently noting that it’s good to see Adama Traore make the most of his assets] It’s a joy to see someone finally harness that incredible pace that he’s got. I’ve described him in the past as a learner driver at the wheel of a Ferrari, but now he’s passed his test and finally come good
2020 01 10 Retrieve
[Martin Keown believes that Liverpool could emulate the famous ‘Invincibles’ and go through the 2019-20 season unbeaten] During Arsenal’s 2003-04 Invincibles season, I saw opponents line up alongside Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Co in the tunnel. They’d ask them if they could swap shirts after the game, before we were even on the pitch! We were that formidable. Whenever I saw that, I knew we would win. There are certain ingredients you need to go unbeaten for so long, and fear from the opposition is one. We had that at Arsenal back then, and Liverpool have that now. Jurgen Klopp’s team have built a reputation for themselves.
They have gone toe-to-toe with a magnificent Manchester City side. They are the champions of Europe, the Premier League champions-elect. That grows in the minds of opponents. Liverpool’s players may be striving for perfection but they can always improve. It’s about energy and desire. The manager has to create an environment where everybody wants to do better. Arsene Wenger did that with us, so has Klopp. The German has got Liverpool playing good football, too. It won’t be easy. But as someone who was part of an Invincibles group 16 years ago, do I think Liverpool will stay unbeaten this season? Yes I do. They have all the right ingredients
2020 01 11 Retrieve
[Martin Keown says Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk is perfection and the best defender to ever grace the Premier League] I think he has to be. It’s almost perfection to watch him play. He was up in Scotland [at Celtic] and nobody really wanted him. He went to Southampton but anyone could have taken it. He seemed to be a player who was perhaps slow to mature, but now he’s there and he wants to win things, and he’s very much behind all of that [for Liverpool].
Man City jumped out of that, they didn’t want to pay the big money to sign him but, what was it, £75 million? That now looks fantastic value. It’s the right time and the right moment for him. I think with Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren and Joe Gomez, Liverpool have got the best four central defenders [in the Premier League]. And if you’re the person playing alongside Van Dijk, he just gives you so much reassurance
2020 01 27 Retrieve
[Martin Keown says Arsenal ‘forced’ to sign a new centre-back after Mustafi injury] They have lost Mustafi tonight and you’d have to say it looks like a really bad one. That will force them into the transfer market. Numerically Arsenal need a centre-back. There is so much to fight for
[Martin Keown praises the contributions made by a youthful Gunners outfit] But these young men should be proud of their efforts. They had quality, imagination and they showed desire
2020 01 28 Retrieve
[Martin Keown says Mikel Arteta having helped to unlock the full potential of Raheem Sterling at Manchester City] The last player Arteta will have worked with in that position would have been Sterling and you saw the improvement of Sterling, so it’s going to be a joy to watch this fella improve because of his starting position. This is where he is now rather than the bottom rung, 18 years of age. I just feel that this player is so mature for someone so young.
Gabriel Martinelli’s 18 years of age and we mustn’t forget that. If you look at his vision. Everything he’s linking really well, taking on board this new message of give-and-go. He’s always on the move, he’s a nightmare to pick up and Bournemouth just couldn’t get near him
[He said of highly-rated frontman Nketiah] It is very obvious that Arteta is giving them the freedom to play, giving them opportunities. This young man, Eddie Nketiah, is coming back from Leeds where he scored (five) goals. He’s a really good mover off the ball, good movement. He’s scored goals for England U21s. He’s got a massive future and they’re getting chances now under Arteta. He’s going with the youth and there’s an energy to this Arsenal team now
2020 01 31 Retrieve
[Martin Keown says Cedric Soares could prove to be a shrewd piece of transfer business for Arsenal] You have got [Hector] Bellerin, who is just coming to form, so he might not play long-term - and [Ainsley] Maitland-Niles - but I do feel he’s a good player. He’s a current holder with Portugal of the Euros and I think he has got enough to offer with Arsenal
[Keown added on Bellerin] It doesn’t block his path because he will know long-term, both Maitland-Niles and himself are the future. But they have had injury issues in that area and [Cedric] is that sort of player, he plays very well out from the back, and it might be something [Arteta] is looking at - competition for places. I think that’s a good addition
2020 02 17 Retrieve
[Martin Keown says Arsenal remain very much a work in progress] This week’s shock news that Manchester City could miss out on a place in next year’s Champions League means that a fifth-place finish could be enough for a place in next year’s competition. Sunday’s victory means that the Gunners are six points behind north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, who hold that fifth position after a last-minute winner at Aston Villa. But this Arsenal team are still very much a work in progress
After all, they started the weekend level on points with Newcastle, who now look in trouble after defeat. That could have been Arsenal. Arteta has some selection issues to contend with after leaving Alexandre Lacazette, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Lucas Torreira and Gabriel Martinelli on the bench - with all of them having good arguments to be in the starting XI.
The positives were that Lacazette came on to end a nine-game wait for a goal with the late fourth, and that the Gunners look like a very together squad. They all celebrated together at the end, with Martinelli, who did not even get off the bench, laughing and joking on the pitch. The winning feeling has eluded them on too many occasions this season but this was a big turnaround for Arteta and Arsenal
2020 02 20 Retrieve
[Former Gunners defender Martin Keown believes Saka’s emergence sends out a message to other young players at the club] He was third choice left-back at the beginning of this season, now look at him, he has nine assists and no one can live with him. We shouldn’t forget that this young man is 18 years of age, he’s coming through the academy. I don’t want to pick on [Nicolas] Pepe but if you look at the performances, who is creating the assists? It is coming from the academy player. It’s fortunate that he is even in the team but he has really taken that [opportunity]. [Sead] Kolasinac is on the bench having to watch and suck it up. You take your chance and make your mark when you get the opportunity. That has to be the message to the young Arsenal players because [Mikel] Arteta will play you. If you’re good enough you stay in the team
2020 02 23 Retrieve
[Bukayo Saka first appearance of the season came in September when he was handed a start in the Europa League by Unai Emery and he immediately set the tone for what was to come by scoring one and setting up two in the 3-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt] No one can live with him. Kolasinac is on the bench having to watch and suck it up. You take your chance and make your mark when you get the opportunity. He was third choice left-back at the beginning of this season, now look at him.
2020 02 28 Retrieve
[Keown slams ‘unprofessional’ Arsenal after meek Europa League elimination] It was the first time I felt that the players were not responding to the manager and the manager did not know what changes to make. There are so many disappointments in that Arsenal performance. There were so many unprofessional performances from players. Such a poor game for Arsenal. If you break down the performance you could have looked at every single player and say that they could have all done more. [Nicolas] Pepe is going to have to improve. [Gabriel] Martinelli should have come on a lot earlier. [Granit] Xhaka was taking the easy way out. A lot of players were not playing their best
It would have been the perfect way to finish but they didn’t. There was a lot of anger, fans were showing their anger at the end of the game. There is going to be a lot of fallout from this game
2020 02 29 Retrieve
[Martin Keown says Mikel Arteta needs Arsenal board to make money available in the summer] I do feel that, you know, I said he was a rookie manager, a rookie manager can win as well. It’s new for him. I think he will weed through the problems. He’s an intelligent man. But it brings it closer doesn’t it? I think a disappointment like that [losing to Olympiacos in Europe] doesn’t paper over the cracks, he’ll be able to work out far sooner what changes need to be made
The set-piece situation is really a catastrophe at the moment. The last two games they’ve conceded four goals from four corners. So you know, it’s not rocket science to sort out where the problems are. He’ll have to go into the transfer market one assumes and I just hope that the board support him because some money is going to have to be spent. And we need, of course, to hold on to Aubameyang although he missed that glorious opportunity to be the hero again. I think it’s hard to come for him. He’s been Arsenal’s best player for the last two or three years and we need him to get back and hope it doesn’t impact too much psychologically on the team because we have an FA Cup game coming up on Monday, and still the chance to make it into the Champions League, although it’s an outside chance
2020 03 04 Retrieve
[Martin Keown believes Pablo Mari must be given more opportunities following his impressive Arsenal debut] He didn’t have a lot to do apart from his distribution. But he won everything when necessary. You could see that he was a little bit short of fitness and that they are building him up. He looks to have the basis of a good player there. There were important first steps on Monday night, even though he wasn’t tested that much because in the second half Arsenal completely dominated possession - it was a bit of a football lesson for Portsmouth
I think he looked very solid, he has the height in inches. You look at the stature of the player and he won everything in the air. He wasn’t rapid, but was quick enough to deal with all the situations. We were playing against a League One side who had a lone striker so he and David Luiz were able to boss him between the two of them. I think it was important that he had Luiz alongside him to talk him through the game. Now we have to give him time, he has to be given more opportunities
In fairness to the player [Mustafi] I do think that he has shown a lot of character and personality in coming back into the team because when you make those kind of errors, I sensed a bit of fear around him. So all credit to Arteta for giving him another opportunity, but long-term it’s an area where the manager will want to strengthen
2020 03 05 Retrieve
[Martin Keown believes that Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke has to dip his hand into his own pocket this summer to give Mikel Arteta money to work with in the transfer market] Arteta has got to be allowed to build the team. He’s got to be given money to develop. Do the owners need to be put some of their own money in? Obviously there are limits to the losses the club can run at, we know that with Manchester City in recent weeks and what they’ve gone through, but expenditure needs to be made in the team. Key decisions need to be made [with Aubameyang and Lacazette]. A
re they going to stay or not? Do Arsenal have to face up to the prospect of perhaps losing Aubameyang? I wouldn’t want to see him go, but they don’t want to be held to ransom either. You could argue with Ozil that’s what happened because at the time [Alexis] Sanchez and Ozil were two big players and they didn’t want to lose both so they invested heavily in Ozil. They need to strengthen the spine of the team. The midfield will need to be improved and so does the defence, the results tell you that. It’s about what sort of resources Arteta will be given and where he feels he needs to prioritise.
I feel he needs to build from the back. All the successful Arsenal teams have had a really strong defence and although you can improve things on the training pitch, I think he has to start with personnel. You want dominant figures, people who want to organise and win that ball when it comes into the box. So that has to be an area where he wants to strengthen or change who he wants to start with. I imagine now they are spending a lot of time watching players across the world trying to denitrify individuals that they can bring in for really good value. But Arsenal won’t be able to shop in the most expensive shops I’m afraid. They will have to look for players who are slightly down from that, which has an element of risk. It’s about a judgement call on your players. Very good players have been bought in the past that nobody really knew anything about. They are going to have to be imaginative in the transfer market. There is a hell of a competition amongst all the top teams to try to find these individuals and it’s a judgement call and in the end I think Arteta will be judged obviously by results, but also in the transfer market
2020 05 02 Retrieve
[Martin Keown says Willian is unlikely to end up crossing London to Arsenal when he hits free agency] I don’t see him going to Arsenal. I think he’s aiming for Barcelona or Real Madrid. He’s an incredible talent. Chelsea will be weaker if he goes but Frank Lampard knows what he’s doing. I’m sure he wants to keep him
It really is a hard decision. I identified myself a lot at Chelsea, I have a lot of love for everyone at the club, and the fans. However, it is like I said before, if I leave Chelsea with no trouble and leaving the doors open, it would be fine to move to a rival club. I don’t know [if leaving London is a possibility], I like London and so does my family. However, this is a question that I still don’t know the answer to, if I will stay at Chelsea, move to another team from London, or leave England
2020 05 08 Retrieve
[Former Arsenal stars Martin Keown agree that Arsene Wenger should be given a statue outside the Emirates Stadium] Wenger was a visionary. He should be in the board room.
What’s the alternative, though? The alternative is what he’s got now - no official link to Arsenal Football Club when he should be sitting proudly in the board room. When I hear him talk, he still says ‘us’ and ‘we’. Have Wenger on the board and put his expertise to use
2020 05 30 Retrieve
[Martin Keown has expressed his belief that Arsenal centre-back David Luiz has to go this summer] David Luiz concerns me because if you’re going to pay £8m for him and give him £5m wages and he’s only going to be there for one season, I’m not sure about the wisdom of that. Is he a proper defender? Can he play in a back four? His best defending came when he was in a back three at Chelsea when they won the Premier League [in 2016-17]. It’s the most crucial area which he [Mikel Arteta] has to get right. Holding’s been injured, it’s hard to judge him, he probably deserves another opportunity. I think that Sokratis could be a useful defender but I can understand the uncertainty of giving David Luiz a new deal. Do they now start to be harsh and make those key decisions? If David Luiz isn’t the answer, then he has to go now. He doesn’t enjoy being in wide positions in the back four, he tends to bring people down and Mustafi, although Arteta has got a bit of a tune out of him, we know Mustafi isn’t quite at the level as well. You go to a football club, you have to make your mark and if it doesn’t happen you have to hold your hands up. I think both players will have to do that… I can’t see that being a long-term partnership in the Arsenal defence.
There’s an awful lot of work to be done in there. There was the defender from Saint-Etienne, William Saliba, who they paid £27 million for but was loaned back again. I couldn’t quite work that out because now I’m being told he’s world-class. Never mind if he’s world-class, if he was Premier League class it would have been good enough because that was an area of concern
2020 06 02 Retrieve
[Martin Keown claims Arsene Wenger would be the perfect choice to succeed Sir Chips Keswick as Arsenal chairman] It would be something special to see Arsene Wenger come onto the board. I don’t think so somehow, I think he’s said recently he doesn’t want to do that, never saw himself as someone who would sit on the board but they could do a lot worse. You know that I feel that would be almost the perfect answer for Kroenke, the young Josh Kroenke, he needs that older person perhaps around, someone with the experience. Other people would think that it would be intimidating for [Mikel] Arteta - I don’t think so. If you’re a successful-type personality, you don’t really mind who else is in the building. You embrace that knowledge that could come in through the door. So I would applaud that if Arsenal Football Club were to bring Arsene Wenger onto the board
Would I return to the Emirates Stadium? I always said to myself that I would be leaving Arsenal completely. That’s the decision I made
2020 06 06 Retrieve
[Martin Keown says Aubameyang nearest thing to Henry but can’t be captain] I don’t think he will. I think he’ll leave with a heavy heart. I think he’s the nearest thing I have seen to Thierry Henry at the football club and the club will have to make swift decisions. They can’t allow what happened a few years ago with the transfers just going on and on. The club needs direction
It’s a real concern for Arsenal, recently with [Mesut] Ozil, they lost [Aaron] Ramsey, they lost [Alexis] Sanchez. We’re hearing now that, unlike [Unai] Emery who wasn’t involved apparently in the Ramsey situation, him leaving, he’s [Arteta] getting involved. I think the message needs to be to the player ‘look, we can’t have you captaining the club if there’s uncertainty around your contract’, in the last year of his contract, that can’t be allowed to happen. Whether you keep him, whether you don’t, that all depends on the monetary side. What are they going to get? What are the offers? Because they do need to look at it and what it means to them to break into the Champions League, to maybe challenge for a Premier League. So if they’re only going to get an offer of £20m-£30m then you have to consider whether you’re going to keep him there or not and whether the player has got the mental capacity to stay, but he can’t be captain because the message is the wrong one to the rest of the group. So there’s lots of building for Arteta to do.
2020 06 08 Retrieve
[Keown says Arsenal warned ‘Achilles heel’ will end top-four hopes] Arsenal’s problem, for the last two-and-a-half seasons, has been their away form. It’s their Achilles heel. In 2019-20, they’ve won twice on the road in 13 attempts, and their next three games are all away from home - against Manchester City, Brighton and Southampton. Then later in the campaign, they face Wolves and Tottenham away, too, before travelling to Aston Villa. If you’re a Manchester United player looking at those Arsenal fixtures, you’d be saying: ‘Good luck with that.’ United have a slight head start and a more favourable run-in. Something affects this Arsenal group when they’re competing away from home, and I doubt they’ll make it into the Champions League because of that
2020 06 23 Retrieve
[Martin Keown says Arsenal need to cut their losses on Mesut Ozil and let the World Cup winner move on] The Ozil situation when Emery took the job, I felt at that time the best thing he could have done is to take Ozil away and sell him at that point. In fact, I advised him to do that at the time. What we have seen with Ozil - for one reason or another, and everyone feels you’re picking on him - he’s a player that isn’t part of the future at Arsenal. They need to cut their losses and let Ozil go, otherwise the other players see the bad habits that he may have
I’m assuming he hasn’t trained well enough and really given it everything, and the manager now doesn’t want to invest any more time in him. But when you have someone around the edges of a football club like that, with all of those impressionable young men, it’s time for change. Arteta is part of that change and part of that new freshness, but if you don’t make the right decisions then you are no longer a part of that, you are a part of the past
2020 06 27 Retrieve
[David Luiz is very lucky to have given another year at Arsenal, says Martin Keown, with the decision to extend the Brazilian’s deal considered to have put Mikel Arteta under unnecessary pressure] What I’m concerned about now is the stock of the manager. I think there’s enough favour there for Arteta as a young manager to maybe get away with this one. Nonetheless, I think he should be making the right decisions for the football club and I don’t believe David Luiz is the right man to be in that dressing room. Frank Lampard took a different view when he took over at Chelsea; he wanted David Luiz out of his dressing room, for whatever reason, whether that was performance or character, I’m not sure, but he made that clear decision
Now, I think David Luiz is very lucky to be there back at Arsenal for another year. But then I worry about the manager, because you only get so long in this job and you’ve got to make the right decisions, and the early decisions have to be right. That is a huge problem, that position; David Luiz has given the most penalties away this season, four, he’s not mobile enough, he goes to ground too early […] As former players we don’t enjoy ridiculing and hammering players, and he’s had a fine career, but he’s only ever done it in a back-three
So unless it is that Arteta is going to change to a back-three and he’s going to play in the middle, as he did at Chelsea when he won the Premier League, Arsenal are in real trouble. Because he’s going to be exposed, he’s going to make rash challenges, and actually in possession he’s been really disappointing. He’s often going back to the goalkeeper and inviting pressure from the opposition. So this is massive for Arteta now. He’s got to go looking for central defenders, there’s injuries in that position, David Luiz isn’t the answer and he’s getting another year’s contract!