Keown, Ferdinand pick out one Arsenal player for criticism

Date published: Wednesday 22nd January 2020 9:19

Gabriel Martinelli Nicolas Pepe Arsenal

Martin Keown and Rio Ferdinand were impressed by Gabriel Martinelli’s performance in Arsenal’s 2-2 draw at Chelsea but were particularly critical of Nicolas Pepe.

Arsenal skipper Hector Bellerin equalised three minutes after opposing captain Cesar Azpilicueta thought he had claimed victory for Chelsea with a neat late finish.

Azpilicueta turned home Callum Hudson-Odoi’s cross with six minutes to play to spark delirium in Stamford Bridge as Frank Lampard’s men took a 2-1 lead.

Earlier, Jorginho had coolly converted his second penalty in three matches after Luiz was sent off for hauling down Tammy Abraham just when the Chelsea striker was about to tap into an empty net.

Martinelli pounced on a rare N’Golo Kante error to drag Arsenal level after the break however, and for large swathes this match appeared destined for a 1-1 draw despite Arsenal playing with 10 men since the 26th minute.

However, it ended 2-2 and Keown admits he was impressed by Martinelli, Keown told BT Sport: “He’s a shining light. He’s been outstanding. The composure is brilliant.

“He’s happy to do the work. So many players don’t want to run. I know it’s not a night for contrasts but Nicolas Pepe is on the other side not quite working in the same way.

“I think that [Pepe] is a work in progress and can be much better. If we were to compare the distances they’ve compared and high intensity runs…

“Martinelli is willing to get back and help out.”

On the difference between Martinelli and Pepe, Ferdinand said: “Night and day…”

He added: “To run that far and to have the composure to finish [for his goal] is brilliant. He’s a centre-forward at heart. There’s too many players who sulk after being moved into a different position.

“The appetite and willingness was great. He’s showing the desire.”

 

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