Martin Keown reacts to Arsenal axing Sanchez
By Matt Farr
BBC pundit Martin Keown has slammed Arsenal for their shocking display in the defeat to Liverpool on Saturday.
Arsenal took a severe dent to their hopes of finishing in the Premier League’s top four, when they were haplessly beaten 3-1 at Anfield.
Speaking on BBC One’s live coverage of Match of the Day on Saturday night, Keown, who spent much of his professional career with the Gunners, branded the performance as one of the worst displays he has seen from an Arsene Wenger side in the last 20 years.
He also criticised Wenger’s decision to omit star player Alexis Sanchez from his starting XI, with the Arsenal top goalscorer named among the substitutes.
He said: “It’s stunning. I really can’t understand the thinking behind why Arsene Wenger wouldn’t want to play him [Sanchez]. He’s their best player.
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“I’m struggling to remember a more tepid Arsenal performance in the last 20 years under Arsene Wenger.
“There was a lack of spirit, a lack of fire in their bellies. They just didn’t turn up in that first-half and left themselves far too much to do.”
The defeat sees Arsenal drop out of the top four for the first time in 2017, where they now trail league leaders Chelsea by 13 points, with the Blues still to play against West Ham this weekend.
They also trail north London rivals Tottenham by three points, and both Liverpool and Manchester City by two points.
Manchester United, meanwhile, are just one point behind Arsenal in sixth, and Wenger’s side now face a tough battle over the remainder of the season to ensure they finish in the top four.
The shocking defeat and selection decisions have also done little to silence the critics of Wenger as Arsenal manager, with many calling for the Frenchman to leave his post at the end of his contract this season.
In other Arsenal news, here are three of the major talking points about Arsenal from the defeat.