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Martin Keown criticises Arsenal defender Rob Holding and tells Mikel Arteta to drop two players

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The former Gunners stalwart was unimpressed with Arsenal’s approach  Martin Keown says centre-back Rob Holding forgot ‘the basics’ in Arsenal’s defeat to Manchester City on Sunday and has called on Mikel Arteta to replace two attackers in the starting XI.

The north London club conceded inside the first two minutes at the Emirates as Raheem Sterling rose above the Gunners’ defence to guide a free header into the back of the net in what proved to be the winning goal in a 1-0 victory for City.

Arsenal went 1 nil down just 2 minutes into the game

Arsenal only mustered one shot on target in the game and City’s back-line were largely comfortable throughout.

Keown was dismayed that the diminutive Sterling was able to score with a header, while he also felt Arsenal needed to press higher up the pitch and would prefer to see Alexandre Lacazette and Emile Smith Rowe – both introduced as subs – start ahead of Nicolas Pepe and Martin Odegaard.

‘A manager can talk tactics with his players until he’s blue in the face, but Manchester City’s goal came about because the basics weren’t followed,’ Keown wrote in his column for the Daily Mail. ‘Rob Holding didn’t pick up Raheem Sterling and the 5ft 7in winger scored a winning header with two minutes on the clock. ‘It surprised me that Arsenal didn’t press Manchester City like they had pressed Leeds in their last home game. 

‘It was courtesy of their high press against Leeds that Arsenal won a penalty to make it 2-0. Emile Smith Rowe later picked up possession on the edge of the opposition box before assisting Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to make it 4-0. Yesterday was different.

Arsenal showed the visitors too much respect and City were allowed to dominate. ‘They could bring it out from the back without any pressure. Several times in the first half, Ruben Dias was sitting as the nightwatchman while every other City player was within 60 yards of the Arsenal goal. Keown wants to see a front four of Smith Rowe, Saka,

‘That includes John Stones, who is a man reborn. He didn’t miss a beat with his passing and his defending was just as strong. Aubameyang had no joy against him. ‘City boss Pep Guardiola said he’s going to have to rotate his team to cope with their schedule.

‘For Mikel Arteta, the front four who finished this game are his best combination and they need to be starting matches. I’d like to see Aubameyang on the left, Alexandre Lacazette central, Bukayo Saka on the right and Smith Rowe in behind.’

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Mikel Arteta demands answers over ‘obvious’ penalty Arsenal were denied in Burnley draw

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was left fuming following his side’s 1-1 draw with Burnley at Turf Moor because of the ‘obvious and clear’ penalty the Spaniard thought the Gunners should have been awarded.

 

It was a passage of play that saw Nicolas Pepe take on the Burnley left-back Erik Pieters, whose arm appeared to meet the ball and block it. The incident wasn’t flagged up by VAR and the game continued.

 

 

Pieters was later penalised for a separate incident when he blocked a goal-bound shot from Pepe, which deflected onto the crossbar and clear. Referee Andre Marriner pointed to the spot and brandished a red card, but VAR intervened when replays showed it had struck his shoulder.

 

The latter incident was a perfect example of how VAR should work, but Arteta was perplexed as to why the first incident wasn’t ruled a penalty, which could have given Arsenal the win.

 

“I think it’s obvious and clear, I think there is no debate about that. If that is not a penalty, then would someone explain what a penalty is in this league,” he said, via Arsenal.com.

 

“We created, but we didn’t score enough. We gave a goal to the opponent and then don’t get the decision that we should get. It then becomes very difficult to win the game.”

 

Having taken the lead early through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the goal that Arsenal gave away was avoidable and the result of Granit Xhaka trying to play a pass that had been closed off by Burnley forward Chris Wood, who blocked it and diverted the ball into the goal.

 

Arteta defended Xhaka’s decision making in that instance, insisting that possession-based football from the back is still how he wants his team to play, despite the risks involved.

 

“It is what it is, it’s the way that we play and the way that I want to play,” the boss explained.

 

“We just have to know the risk and the rules that we have in certain areas in terms of the type of balls we have to play. But it is what it is.”

 

 

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English FA explains why Arsenal were denied penalty against Burnley

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The Premier League has claimed that Arsenal were denied a penalty against Burnley because Erik Pieters was in ‘close proximity’ to Nicolas Pepe.

The Gunners were forced to settle for a point at Turf Moor after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s early opener was cancelled out by Chris Wood, who benefitted from a huge mistake by Granit Xhaka.

However, Arsenal felt aggrieved in the 75th minute when Pepe’s touch inside Burnley’s box led the ball to hit Pieters’ outstretched arm, but Mikel Arteta’s side were not awarded a penalty following a VAR review.

Earlier this week, Fulham were involved in a similar incident as Mario Lemina was penalised for handball in the build-up to their disallowed goal against Tottenham.

But in a statement after the game, the Premier League clarified why Arsenal were not given the decision.

‘The ball has hit him from close proximity and he’s had no time to react,’ said the statement. ‘It wasn’t given on-field and the VAR didn’t think it was a clear error.’

 

Arteta, meanwhile, was left in no doubt that his side should have been awarded a penalty. ‘Absolutely,’ the Arsenal manager said after the game.

 ‘I think it is obvious and clear. I think there is no debate about that. ‘If that’s not a penalty, then someone will explain what a penalty is in this league.’

 

 

 

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Just In: Xhaka apologizes to Arsenal Fans for his costly mistake against Burnley

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Granit Xhaka is full of remorse for his horrendous display that led to Burnley goal, that cost Arsenal 2 points today.

He has come to apologize to Arsenal fans via his Official Facebook  Page:

It’s class from him.

 

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