Martin Keown says Arsenal's Europa League exit may be a blessing
Photo by Andrew Kearns - CameraSport via Getty Images

Martin Keown says Arsenal's Europa League exit may be a blessing

Martin Keown has told Match of the Day 2 that as much as he doesn’t like to say it, Arsenal getting knocked out of the Europa League could now prove to be a blessing in their push to win the Premier League title.

The Gunners have gone eight points clear at the top of the table after an emphatic victory over Crystal Palace at the Emirates. The result was all the more impressive because of the disappointment of a few days earlier.

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Mikel Arteta’s men were knocked out of the Europa League after a penalty shootout against Sporting. It was a frustrating night for Arsenal, with the Gunners unable to beat Ruben Amorim’s side in either leg.

Keown thinks Arsenal may benefit from Europa League exit

Some may have expected Arsenal to sacrifice their European run to focus on the Premier League. But the Gunners clearly took the competition very seriously. And that made Thursday’s defeat all the more agonising.

Photo by Andrew Kearns – CameraSport via Getty Images

But Arsenal can now focus on the league fully. Manchester City meanwhile, are still battling on three fronts. And Keown believes that may actually be extremely beneficial for Arteta’s side.

“Of course they can,” he told Match of the Day 2 when asked if Arsenal can win the title. “They’ve put themselves in an amazing position. But look at Haaland now, going through the gears, scoring all his goals.

“I just wonder if the fixture list gets in Man City’s way in the end. And was it a blessing in midweek that they went out of the Europa League? I don’t like to say that, I don’t say it lightly because you don’t want to go out of any competition. But I think now Arsenal can see what they’ve got. Ten games to go, let’s see.”

Arsenal’s players will have been aware that many expected them to fall away at some stage. Many within the squad are yet to fight for the league title. And of course, several were there last season when they let a top-four spot slip through their grasp.

And after each defeat, those who previously backed Arsenal to collapse probably thought that they were about to be proved right.

But each time, Arteta’s men pick themselves up and get back on track. Their first defeat of the season was followed by an eight-match winning run.

And after their four-match winless run earlier this year, Arsenal then won several games on the spin.

They have followed their Europa League exit with a comfortable win over Palace. And you would not be surprised to see them pick up where they left off after the international break.

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