‘They were carrying the team’ – Keown reveals what has ‘surprised’ him about Arsenal this season

Joe Williams
Arsenal legend Martin Keown speaks

Martin Keown is pleased to see Arsenal took their “opportunity” in the summer transfer window after being carried by three players last season.

The Gunners have made a brilliant start to the new Premier League season and sit top of the table with six wins from seven matches.

That is partly down to their recruitment in the summer with Arsenal bringing in Gabriel Jesus, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Fabio Vieira, Matt Turner and Marquinhos.

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On top of that William Saliba returned from a successful loan spell at Marseille and has gone straight into Mikel Arteta’s starting XI.

Keown has been “surprised” by their early position at the top of the table with Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe pulling Arsenal out of sticky situations last season.

The Arsenal legend told the Daily Mirror: “Well, I am surprised they are top of the table yes. There was an always opportunity that if they got the right signings in Arsenal could compete, because if you look at the base of [Gabriel] Martinelli, [Bukayo] Saka and [Emile] Smith Rowe – they were carrying the team, Odegaard coming in later.

“So it was just a question of if you got some role models, some players that have already done it, that experience, that was always going to add to the group. Even [Granit] Xhaka, he is now an Arsenal favourite – that’s how much it’s turned around.”

Arsenal beat Brentford 3-0 in their last Premier League fixture before the international break

Keown added: “It is surprising, I think you’ve got to build on that now, we are now looking at an Arsenal team that has got to keep developing, got to keep showing it’s got the personality, the character, there were question marks last season.

“I thought the performance against Brentford was the best I’d seen, the most complete in every department, they really were second best Brentford that day and that doesn’t happen very much in their stadium.”

Manchester City and Tottenham are just a point behind the Gunners in the Premier League table and Keown thinks Arsenal should just concentrate on staying ahead of their north London rivals ahead of the derby on Saturday.

Keown continued: “When you think about how strong Manchester City are, it’s about staying in the running and trying to stay ahead of Spurs.

“I predicted at the start of the season that these two would make it into the top four, that might be a difficult season for Chelsea – there is still a long way to go in that.”