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Martin Keown tears into Arsenal after Europa League loss to Villarreal


Martin Keown tears into Arsenal after Europa League semi-final loss to Villarreal as he claims ex-Gunners boss Unai Emery was ’embarrassing’ successor Mikel Arteta and says Dani Ceballos was ‘out of his depth’ before Spaniard was sent off

Martin Keown was furious with Arsenal’s performance in their 2-1 defeat by Villarreal, claiming Unai Emery was ’embarrassing’ successor Mikel Arteta for large parts of the Europa League semi-final first leg. 

The Gunners managed to keep alive their hopes of reaching the final next month as a Nicolas Pepe penalty gave the 10-man visitors an away goal in defeat at the LaLiga side.

The tie appeared to be getting away from the Gunners as first-half goals from Manuel Trigueros and Raul Albiol preceded a Dani Ceballos red card just before the hour.

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Martin Keown was furious with Arsenal's performance in their 2-1 defeat by Villarreal

Martin Keown was furious with Arsenal’s performance in their 2-1 defeat by Villarreal

Gunners legend Keown said Unai Emery was 'embarrassing' his successor Mikel Arteta

Gunners legend Keown said Unai Emery was ’embarrassing’ his successor Mikel Arteta

But Pepe would convert from the spot to send Arsenal home with a 2-1 deficit, Villarreal having also been reduced to 10 men late on following the dismissal of former Tottenham man Etienne Capoue.

But Keown, who made almost 400 appearances for Arsenal, was unimpressed by their display in Spain and was particularly critical of midfielder Ceballos.

Speaking on BT Sport after the game, Keown said: ‘It was an absolutely mad game. I thought the writing was on the wall for the manager (Arteta).

‘The risk he took not playing with a striker, it looked in disarray. Arsenal got away with one tonight. Bernd Leno makes a couple of saves when they (Villarreal) should be out of sight.

‘Dani Ceballos has made a catalogue of mistakes in the Europa League. He looked out of his depth tonight. There was a huge hole in midfield which Emery exploited.

‘It looked like the former manager was embarrassing the current boss, which must have been embarrassing for Arsenal’s owners.

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‘The consistency has not been there. They (Arsenal) have to turn up for the home leg or bad things will happen.’ 

But despite the Gunners needing to overturn the deficit to reach next month’s final in Gdansk, Keown believes Arteta’s men have the capacity to come back and progress. 

Keown also claimed midfielder Dani Ceballos - who saw red - was 'out of his depth' in the game

Keown also claimed midfielder Dani Ceballos – who saw red – was ‘out of his depth’ in the game

Keown believes Arteta's men have the capacity to progress after Nicolas Pepe's away goal

Keown believes Arteta’s men have the capacity to progress after Nicolas Pepe’s away goal

He added: ‘Arsenal are still in tie but could have been out. It was how it’s been all season, really turbulent as a Gunners fan.

‘Is he the right manager? He has one foot in the door [to the final] and has the players to make the difference next week.

‘It was a huge risk not to play with centre forward. When you listen to him (Arteta), it links to philosophy. Tactics are going to be so important next week, maybe they’ll do something on the break next week.

‘If the Arsenal that turned up in the second leg against Sparta Prague turns up then I am confident.

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‘If anyone can, Arsenal can. But Arteta has to play the correct XI. You have to learn fast or you don’t survive.’



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