Wright, Keane identify ‘big concern’ for Arsenal as player is singled out for criticism

Joe Williams
Roy Keane and Ian Wright speak about Arsenal

Ian Wright and Roy Keane have criticised Albert Sambi Lokonga for his performance as Arsenal lost 1-0 to Manchester City in the FA Cup fourth round.

Nathan Ake’s tidy finish on 64 minutes settled the tie after the Gunners more than matched their Premier League title rivals at the Etihad Stadium.

Lokonga was introduced at half-time with Thomas Partey forced off with a rib injury, which he will have scanned over the weekend.

And both Wright and Keane both thought Arsenal midfielder Lokonga struggled to settle into the game.

Speaking on ITV Sport after the match, Wright said: “It did seem like [Julian] Alvarez, when you see him there, who’s picking him up?

“Obviously any striker worth his salt is going to turn and shoot. I think Jack Grealish’s vision and capability, keeping the ball and then noticing Ake.

“But look at the amount of space [Alvarez] is in. Someone has got to be there, whether it’s [Fabio] Vieira or it’s Lokonga. Someone has got to be closer, too much space.”

Wright added on Lokonga: “With someone like Sambi, he needs minutes, he needs to be playing, he needs to be able to understand and be more wary of where he is and what he needs to do and where he needs to be dropping in.

“You’ve got to kind of sense that danger and that’s why he needs the minutes in games of this quality, because that’s where you learn.”

Keane said: “But you hope at this stage and at this level they’ve already learned that part of the game. It’s a big concern.”

On the goal, Keane continued: “Too easy. Obviously you’ve got some defenders back there – brilliant awareness obviously from Jack and it’s like a striker’s finish [from Ake] – but for the initial ball into Alvarez I think Arsenal lost their shape for 10 or 15 minutes with some of the changes.

“It’s a brilliant strike almost into the side netting, but just before that almost a lapse, they [Arsenal] were almost just having a breather at the wrong time.

“It’s a bit of a lack of communication from your centre-halves to your midfielders, they just kind of switched off for five or 10 minutes around that time.”

On the second half, Wright said: “We didn’t quite get at them enough, we didn’t quite get the ball in that midfield area and get Saka going. Obviously Saka went off, Martinelli came on for Trossard – I thought he did pretty well.

“But I didn’t think we threatened them enough. When they scored we seemed to get a little bit more of the ball, but they [City] seemed in control of what we were doing, we didn’t threaten as much as I thought we could have.”

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