'Ridiculous': Keown thinks Arteta has made a big mistake with Arsenal star
Arsenal legend Martin Keown has urged Mikel Arteta to start with a back five against Manchester City today.
The Gunners fell to a 2-0 defeat against Chelsea in their last Premier League outing.
Arteta’s charges struggled as their opponents comprehensively outplayed them at the Emirates.
Arsenal did subsequently pick up a big confidence boost as they ran out 6-0 winners at West Brom in the League Cup.
“Arsenal would have been better off keeping it simple”
Keown, writing in the Daily Mail, says this shows the Gunners definitely do have quality in the ranks.
However, he criticised Arteta’s decision to go with a “complex, hybrid system” in defence last weekend.
This asked too much of Kieran Tierney, who had to cover “ridiculous” distances up and down the flank.
Keown believes Arsenal should just “keep it simple” when they take on Pep Guardiola’s charges.
“Arsenal were floating between a back four and a back five, with Granit Xhaka sometimes a midfielder and sometimes a defender,” he wrote in the Daily Mail.
“Kieran Tierney was being asked to cover ridiculous distances down the left-hand side.
“Impossible for Arsenal to build a protective screen”
“He was racing down the wing to become the additional wide man, with Xhaka covering him at left back.
“But then as soon as the ball was lost Tierney was having to bomb all the way back.
“When Xhaka was covering at left-back, that left only Albert Sambi Lokonga in midfield.
“All on his own it was impossible for Arsenal to build a protective screen to stop balls from getting into Romelu Lukaku.
“When Arsenal were out of possession in the middle third, it was difficult for Tierney to read whether Xhaka would remain in midfield or drop back.
“Arsenal would have been better off keeping it simple and starting with a back five – the system which was used so successfully in winning the FA Cup in 2020.”
Arsenal team news ahead of City clash
Hector Bellerin is back in full training and available after missing the last two matches with a tight thigh.
Ben White has missed the Gunners’ last two games after testing positive for covid but the club is monitoring his progress.