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The former Gunners defender believes the Spanish coach will get things right if patience is shown on and off the field at Emirates Stadium

Mikel Arteta deserves to be shown the trust once afforded to Arsene Wenger says Martin Keown, who says the Spaniard requires time and the backing of his board in order to deliver on expectations.

Uncomfortable questions are starting to be asked of the man calling the shots at Emirates Stadium.

With the Gunners enduring their worst start to a Premier League season, as they look anxiously over their shoulder towards the drop zone, inevitable criticism has been aimed in the direction of those on and off the field in north London.

Keown can appreciate why pressure is building at Arsenal, but he believes patience should be shown with the rookie coach.

The former Gunners defender said: “I think it is not a time for panic, Arteta has shown he can win. People would always say: ‘Trust in Wenger’. Now we need to do that with Arteta.

“He wants to make changes and sometimes, when you make changes, you go backward first before you can go forward.

“The confidence has been massively dented by results, so it is a difficult time now. I think it came as a bit of a shock to the manager how they were dismantled by Aston Villa and they haven’t really recovered.

“He needs to be backed. I am really pleased Edu is speaking now in support of the manager – he should have spoken far sooner.

“I think if the fans were all allowed back in by some miracle next week, they would be behind the manager.”

Keown is also looking for Arteta to be given more money to spend in the transfer market, saying Arsenal are still in need of strengthening down their spine.

He added: “The long-term vision [Arteta] has for the team in terms of how they want to play was affecting the short-term results. They needed to go back to a back five but then you can’t be as creative.

“I do feel that the transfer window can’t come soon enough for him. The midfield area is still a problem. He needs Thomas Partey back and he also needs another top-class midfielder to play along him.

“You look at [Pierre-Emile] Hojbjerg at Spurs and you think: ‘Why were Spurs the only team going after him?’ He is a good player who has made a difference. Until he can control the midfield, he is not going to be able to play the back-four system he wants.”

Arsenal, who sit 15th in the table as things stand, will be back in action on Saturday when they travel to Everton.

Martin Keown, McDonald’s Fun Football ambassador, was speaking at the opening of a new playground made from 1 million recycled Happy Meal toys at RMHC Oxford, the first of at least 15 to be built over the next year. To find out more visit mcdonalds.co.uk/family.

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December 18, 2020
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