Martin Keown and Michael Owen criticise ‘sluggish’ Arsenal star in Lens defeat
Posted by  badge Boss on Oct 03
The Gunners were sloppy at the back in Tuesday’s loss (Pictures: Getty / TNT Sports)

Both Martin Keown and Michael Owen have singled out for criticism after the defender gave a ‘sluggish’ display in Tuesday’s defeat to Lens.

The Gunners suffered their first defeat of the season against the French side – who are currently 15th in Ligue 1 – despite taking the lead on the night.

A rapid turnover saw play 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 not long after – and is now a doubt to face Manchester City on Sunday – while Elye Wahi netted in the second half as Lens dug in to secure a 2-1 victory.

Keown and Owen were particularly critical of the manner in which Arsenal conceded the second goal, with a simple one-two seeing 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, with Keown 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.

Wahi’s goal secured all three points for Lens (Picture: Getty)

‘And then the marking in the box. You’ve got to mark in the box!

‘I know that they’re in a line there trying to deal with the ball that’s coming across, but you can’t pick out a player with that.

‘It’s a wonderful finish, he comes onto it beautifully, but I’d have been really disappointed if he scored that goal against me. You have to, as the second central defender there, be looking to pick up inside 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.’

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