MARTIN KEOWN thinks that Arsenal need a ‘slap’ or ‘punch in the face’ before they start playing.
The Gunners legend was left incensed by his old side’s performance as they laboured to a 1-1 draw with Slavia Prague at Emirates Stadium.
Slavia were allowed to settle in the first half, looking confident after twice winning on British soil already this year against Rangers and Leicester.
Nicolas Pepe did finally break the deadlock in the 86th minute, before disaster struck deep into stoppage time, when Tomas Holes struck in the 93rd minute to grab a crucial equaliser and away goal.
And Keown was not happy with how Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta approached the game.
He told BT Sport: “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.”
And after the disappointment, Keown, 54, predicted tricky times ahead for the young Gunners boss.
He continued: “So, hugely disappointing, and it’s going to be difficult now for Arteta, because he’s made a lot of changes within the football club, a lot of people have been allowed to go.
“This is his team now essentially. There have been a lot of problems for Arsenal over a number of years with players coming in and out of the football club so it’s not all at his doorstep.
“But he’s in charge now, he’s not quite getting the reaction from the team.”
Arsenal return to Premier League action with a trip to Sheffield United on Sunday, before travelling to Prague for the second leg next Thursday.
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