This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Speaking at a Sportsmail event, Martin Keown has revealed only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would make it into Arsene Wenger’s best sides out of this current crop of Arsenal players.
The Gunners have endured a difficult start to the season, going on a run of five games without a win, including a demoralising 2-0 defeat to top-four rivals Leicester before the international break.
Amidst their struggles however, Aubameyang has continued to shine for the north Londoners. He finished as the joint-winner of the Premier League’s Golden Boot award last season, whilst this year, he has already netted nine times in 14 games across all competitions.
And now, Keown has insisted that such is the Gunners’ plight, only the Gabon international would even make it into Wenger’s title-winning sides of yesteryear.
He said: “I know people say you need good players and yes you do, but when they need direction when they go on to the pitch, there needs to be good tactics, each player needs to be hungry for success, be determined. I think Aubameyang is the only player who would get in Wenger’s three title-winning sides.
“Everyone was in touch at Arsenal during my time there. The work rate was unbelievable. (Fredrik) Ljungberg chasing back, Ray Parlour making tackles, (Patrick) Vieira, everyone is competitive, they are in there with a mindset where they believe they are winners. How do we get that back? The manager has to make the right decisions first. The current team is not in touch with each other. ”
Make no mistake about it, Keown’s dire declaration is difficult to argue with. Whilst Unai Emery’s debut campaign in charge at the Emirates had some promising signs – they reached the Europa League final and finished just one point off the top four in the Premier League – there have arguably been none this season. They are struggling to score goals in general with just 16 to their name in the top-flight, and are conceding plenty too (17).
Looking back to the last time Arsenal won the Premier League, back in 2003/2004 and the famous Invincibles, the Gunners were rock solid at the back, and devastating going forward. They scored 73 times and conceded just 26 – both were the best in the division. So for Keown to say only Aubameyang would make those successful sides of Arsenal’s past is a real tough pill to swallow. The north London side have regressed considerably, and their lack of quality is telling thanks to their former star’s harsh truths.