Keown slams Arsenal man for letting Haaland ‘strut around the pitch’ – ‘it looked really easy’

Lewis Oldham
Keown slams Arsenal star

Club legend Martin Keown has criticised Arsenal defender Rob Holding after he failed to keep Erling Haaland quiet on Thursday night.

The Gunners headed into Thursday evening’s game at the Etihad realistically needing to win to keep their Premier League title hopes alive.

But Man City are in superb form of late and they tore Mikel Arteta’s side apart. Kevin De Bruyne fired the hosts ahead via a sublime finish inside the opening ten minutes.

City had plenty of chances to extend their lead before the interval and John Stones headed home their second just before half-time.

Pep Guardiola’s side were also in control in the second half and goals from De Bruyne and Haaland (in between a consolation from Holding) ensured Man City ran out convincing 4-1 winners.

Man City are now just two points behind Arsenal but the Premier League holders have two games in hand over their rivals.

Haaland has now scored 33 Premier League goals in 29 appearances this term and he has also grabbed seven assists. Holding has been exposed by Arsenal’s rivals in recent weeks and that continued against City as he had no answer for the Norwegian’s brilliance.

Keown thinks Holding failed to “put his marker down” against Haaland.

“If I was playing, Haaland would be all I was thinking about,” Keown told BT Sport. “Holding lost that battle. The very first challenge, that’s where they concede the first goal.

“You’ve got to put your marker down, you’ve got to be physical, maybe take a booking. But Haaland is just strutting around that pitch and it looked really easy at times.

“That’s something these young Arsenal defenders are going to have to learn, and learn quickly.”

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Gunners head coach Arteta admitted post-match that his team were “nowhere near” their best.

“The analysis is clear,” Arteta said. “The better team won the game. They were probably at their best, especially in the first half, and we were nowhere near our level. When that happens the gap becomes too big.

“The first 30 minutes all the basic things you have to do against an exceptional team in terms of competing, winning duels, understanding what the game requires, we didn’t do it and we were punished.

“The stats said Arsenal were going to finish sixth or seventh and we are where we are with five games to go. Those players deserve a lot of credit after nine-and-a-half months being here. And there are still five games to play.

“In 22 years in this country, I’ve seen a lot of things and there are not two equal games in this league.”

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