Martin Keown lambasts string of Arsenal errors leading to Vitoria goals

Martin Keown picked out the likes of Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Kieran Tierney for criticism after Vitoria came close to snatching all three points against Arsenal on Thursday.

The Portuguese visitors led twice in the first half of the Europa League clash, with Rob Holding and Tierney failing to deal with Marcus Edwards for the first.

Maitland-Niles’ heavy touch then allowed Davidson to nip in and fire a shot against the post, before Bruno Duarte was free to smash in the rebound.

Nicolas Pepe’s brace of free kicks late on in the second half eventually secured Arsenal all three points, but Keown was not happy with how his former side defended in the lead-up to Vitoria’s goals.

“Well [Hector] Bellerin’s playing in his preferred position, [Calum] Chambers has taken his first-team berth in the Premier League,” the pundit said.

“It looked like he was feeling sorry for himself and there’s no time for that as a professional footballer. Really poor touch and they’re away for the second goal. It’s a wonderful finish but Maitland-Niles is all at sea.



“He should receive that ball on his back foot, he turns into trouble, and that’s laziness, sloppiness. The player has got great ability but he’s wasting his talent at the moment.”

Keown also suggested that with Emery choosing to rotate for the Europa League this season, the “second-string” team showed a lack of desire.

“You need to be right mentally,” he added. “You’re the second-string XI, you’re watching the first-team play, when you play you can make your mark. I didn’t see the hunger.

“[For the first goal] I thought Holding could have gone across, Tierney’s the wrong side, no one getting back in midfield. Far too easy and that will worry the manager.

“It’s not complacency, it’s a lack of hunger. You’re there to make your mark at a football club, you want to make it difficult for the manager when he comes to select the team for the weekend and nobody at the moment is doing enough.”

The result means Arsenal maintained their place at the top of Group F, with Vitoria rock bottom and without a point.

Read more: Robin van Persie names most worrying thing about Arsenal under Emery