Martin Keown urges Arsenal to replace ‘second-string’ Eddie Nketiah and Granit Xhaka and admits Champions League ‘disappointment’

    talkSPORT host Martin Keown has explained what Arsenal need to do if they are challenge at the top of the Premier League next season.

    The Gunners legend has identified a number of key areas to strengthen as his old club gear up for a busy summer transfer window.

    Arsenal lost to Newcastle which all but ended their Champions League football chances

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    Arsenal lost to Newcastle which all but ended their Champions League football chances

    Arsenal need a miracle on the final day of the campaign if they are to leapfrog rivals Tottenham and secure a place in the Champions League.

    Should Spurs suffer defeat away against Norwich at Carrow Road, and the Gunners defeat Everton at home, they would finish in the top four.

    “I always felt that Spurs were going to pip Arsenal from sometime ago when looking at their fixtures”, Keown told talkSPORT.

    “I know there has been progress from an Arsenal point of view, having finished eighth the last two seasons.

    “Now finishing fifth, it has been disappointing, but that same pressure will be their at the start of next season. Arteta will be given time to get his team right, there is a desire to keep him in the position – he has just signed a new three-year contract.

    “It is time for him to get the players in which can help him in those tough situations against the likes of Newcastle, for example.”

    Arteta will have time to shape his squad says Keown

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    Arteta will have time to shape his squad says Keown

    Keown believes Arsenal are in desperate need for strikers, with Alexandre Lacazette set to leave on a free transfer following the expiry of his contract.

    “As a defender, I was talking about Ian Wright, Thierry Henry and Nicolas Anelka the other day, these guys give you belief that you can win games.

    “We [defenders] throw ourselves in front of balls to black things, because eventually, they [strikers] are going to get the chance to win us the game.

    “[Eddie] Nketiah has done an amazing job, but we know he is a second-string striker, not an A-liner.”

    Nketiah is not a first-choice striker says the Arsenal legend

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    Nketiah is not a first-choice striker says the Arsenal legend

    The ex-Arsenal defender also suggests experience is needed to help the younger players at the club.

    “If we go back to Arsene Wenger when he sat down when leaving, he said he wanted mature players, 28 to 29-year-old’s.

    “Arsenal have had the youngster team in the Premier League this season, I admire where they are going, but they need to fill it with experience.

    “I can see problems when I look at the team. People will say you have never managed, but I have been in successful teams. Tactically, I saw issues against Newcastle about being too deep, and players acting as individuals.

    Keown says the Gunners should not rely on Xhaka

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    Keown says the Gunners should not rely on Xhaka

    “[Takehiro] Tomiyasu was exposed, with nobody supporting him in front. It always seems to be the youngsters that are carrying the club, it is a very young group, and the obvious thing is to pack the team with some experience.

    “I presume that is what will happen this summer, but fifth place us a huge disappointment for me as an Arsenal fan.

    “The middle is where the club needs to strengthen, I think with [Granit] Xhaka, it is time for change, I am not saying get rid of him completely. I just feel if he is coming on and making a contribution in midfield, then he needs to get better and develop.

    “[Thomas] Partey has been injured for long periods of the season, and [Albert Sambi] Lokonga has been deemed to be not quite good enough.

    “Mohamed Elneny, is he the answer? So the midfield, that engine room is a key area which needs to be better.”

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