Arsenal legend Martin Keown has criticised Thomas Partey following his performance for the Gunners in Thursday night’s Europa League match.
Mikel Arteta’s charges hosted Slavia Prague at the Emirates Stadium in their quarter-final first leg, a game which didn’t see the deadlock broken until the 86th minute.
Arsenal, who looked timid and were wasteful for large parts of the match, took the lead when substitute Nicolas Pepe dinked the ball past the advancing Ondrej Kola.
However, the Gunners were made to pay for their wastefulness in front of goal as Slavia drew level deep into injury time through a Tomas Holes diving header.
Partey’s performance on the night was far from his best, with some wayward passing and missed tackles, not to mention lacking urgency on the pitch.
“(Partey) couldn’t get around the pitch,” Keown told talkSPORT (April 9, 10am). “He’s not fit enough. They brought him in to control games.”
Keown was also critical of Arteta’s tactics and team selection on the night.
“With the quality Arsenal have, I think it’s coming back more to the manager now in terms of his selection,” he added.
“The single most important thing is for the manager to get the right selection on the pitch – and I don’t think he got that last night.
“He needs to be held responsible. I can’t understand why Martinelli doesn’t play? He’s an outstanding talent.
“On the left, we didn’t have a left-footed player. Perhaps Saka should have played on the left?”
Partey is a player of the highest calibre, but for a number of months now he’s not quite lived up to expectations.
That said, it’s his first season at Arsenal and he’s had injury issues – hopefully he’ll end the season on a high and will be back to his best next term.