Arsenal were second best against Liverpool as they succumbed to a 3-0 defeat in their recent Premier League match. In the wake of the defeat, former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has urged the Gunners boss to drop the underperforming Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and replace him with the young Brazilian forward Gabriel Martinelli.
The Gabonese striker did not have much impact in such a high voltage and Keown feels that it is time for Arteta to make some big decisions. Keown recently told Daily Mail, “Arteta has a big decision to make on his captain. He set an example by dropping Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for the north London derby recently. Aubameyang was supposed to start against Spurs but turned up late and was pulled.
“Should Arteta not be dropping him for performing as poorly as he did against Liverpool? If he sticks with him, he risks losing the respect of the group.
“It’s time to bring in 19-year-old Gabriel Martinelli. He is too good to be sitting on the bench. His teammates see him in training and know what he can do. They will be baffled by his continued absence. I know I am. ”
The former Arsenal defender feels that there were too many stationary players against Jurgen Klopp’s men. So he feels that youngsters like Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli could have posed more threat to the opposition.
“Use him on the left. Use Martinelli’s fellow 19-year-old Bukayo Saka on the right. Start Emile Smith Rowe. Then you’ll have a team who can pose problems for the opposition. There were too many passengers against Liverpool.
“They had Aubameyang on the left, Alexandre Lacazette central and Nicolas Pepe on the right – three club-record signings – but they missed the energy and drive of Smith Rowe and Saka.
“There is no time for Arsenal’s players to feel sorry for themselves. They need to bounce back against a Prague side who have knocked Leicester and Rangers out of the Europa League.”
“Arteta has big decisions to make – ones he needs to get right,” Keown added.
Aubameyang signed a big contract with the Gunners at the start of the season but his output this season has been below par. He has only scored 14 times this season in all competitions and has gone goalless in the last four matches.
Meanwhile, Brazilian youngster Martinelli who has shown promise in his debut campaign with the Gunners before being plagued by injuries. However, he has now recovered and has not seen much game time despite Arsenal’s poor form. Now it remains to be seen whether the Spanish tactician pays heed to this request from a former Arsenal defender.