Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown believes the club is a ‘sinking ship’ under current coach Unai Emery, following Saturday’s home draw against Southampton. The Gunners were set for an embarrassing defeat to the Saints at the Emirates until Alexandre Lacazette popped up in the 96th minute to equalize. With the team sitting eighth on the Premier League table, eight points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea, Keown feels as if the decision to appoint Emery was a mistake.
“This season only Aston Villa and Norwich have allowed more shots against them in total than Unai Emery’s side. Alarm bells must be ringing at Arsenal.
“This is currently a sinking ship and the fans made their feelings known at full time. “In 1996 David Dein brought in Arsene Wenger and finding his successor after 22 years at the helm was a huge task.
“They gave the job to Emery but that is beginning to look like it was the wrong move. Now the decision-makers at Arsenal have another big call to make: do they stick with Emery or look elsewhere?”
Arsenal went behind in the eighth minute to the Saints after Danny Ings’ strike but managed to equalize through Lacazette shortly after. James Ward-Prowse gave Southampton another lead in the 71st minute and it looked like all three points were heading south until Lacazette once again popped up in deep into stoppage time. With the Saints’ poor form of late, Keown slammed Arsenal’s performance and suggested it might actually be Emery’s team in crisis.
“Southampton has not won any of their last eight Premier League games and lost 9-0 to Leicester,” Keown said.
“Yet, at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, it was hard to tell which was the team more in crisis.
“Southampton looked better than Arsenal, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men had 21 shots to the hosts’ 12,” Keown suggested that star Gunners players wouldn’t renew their contracts if the current malaise continued and questioned David Luiz’s position in the side.
“If they decide to stick with Emery then the manager has big decisions to make himself,” he said. “I warned against Arsenal signing David Luiz in August and I wonder if he should be taken out of the team now.
“Certainly star players like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Lacazette will not be signing extensions unless things change.” Arsenal can seal Europa League knockout qualification with a win over Eintracht Frankfurt at home on Thursday before they face lowly Norwich City away on Sunday.