Martin Keown and Michael Owen critical of Oleksandr Zinchenko after Arsenal’s Champions League defeat to Lens
Arsenal suffered their first defeat of the season against French side Lens on Tuesday night, despite taking the lead on the night. Bukayo Saka played in Gabriel Jesus who rifled the ball into the bottom corner, but the visitors were pegged back after a wonderful finish from Adrien Thomasson. Saka was forced off with an injury not long after, while Elye Wahi netted in the second half as Lens dug in to secure a 2-1 victory.
Martin Keown and Michael Owen were particularly critical of the manner in which Arsenal conceded the second goal, with a simple one-two seeing Oleksandr Zinchenko pulled out of position and allowing Przemyslaw Frankowski to race in behind. The right-back then whipped in a low cross where Wahi was somehow unmarked inside the box to sweep home.
Keown and Owen single out Zinchenko for criticism
Keown was very critical of the back-line and particularly Zinchenko’s role in the goal. Speaking on TNT Sports afterwards, he said: ‘I think Zinchenko just gets done, doesn’t he. He goes in too much. For me, I’d have just waited for [the Lens player] to come on, I wouldn’t have thrown myself in there. Little one-two behind him, attacks the space. And then the marking in the box. You’ve got to mark in the box!’
Fellow pundit Owen was also critical of Zinchenko, continuing: ‘Zinchenko is halfway house, isn’t he. He has to either get close and affect the ball – either tackle or bring the player down or something – or he stays where he is. But he can’t give himself away so easily. Sluggish. As soon as he was played around: sluggish. We were talking before, he often gets brought off in games. Can he last games fitness-wise and stuff like that? He looked tired there when Lens played the one-two pass.’
Arsenal face Manchester City on Sunday
Saka is now a doubt to face Manchester City on Sunday after being forced off with an injury against Lens, while Zinchenko will need to improve his performance if he is to keep his place in the side.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta will be hoping his side can bounce back from Tuesday’s defeat and secure a positive result against City on Sunday. The Gunners have made a strong start to the season and will be looking to continue their good form against Pep Guardiola’s side.
Martin Keown and Michael Owen were critical of Oleksandr Zinchenko after Arsenal’s Champions League defeat to Lens on Tuesday night. The Gunners conceded a sloppy second goal after Zinchenko was pulled out of position, allowing Przemyslaw Frankowski to race in behind and whip in a low cross for Elye Wahi to sweep home. Both pundits were critical of Zinchenko’s performance, with Keown saying he should have waited for the Lens player to come on and Owen saying he looked ‘sluggish’. Arsenal face Manchester City on Sunday and Zinchenko will need to improve his performance if he is to keep his place in the side.