Arsenal need to find the kind of determination shown by surprise Premier League leaders Leicester City, says Martin Keown.
Former centre-back Keown, who won three Premier League titles with the Gunners and also turned out for Leicester, fears that the London club’s 3-2 defeat to Manchester United revealed further questions over their mentality.
Arsenal are seeking a first league championship since 2003/04, Keown’s final season at Highbury, but have slipped six points behind Leicester (after Tuesday night's match) and three behind their north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
“I think [the defeat at Old Trafford] raises huge question marks,” Keown told FourFourTwo. “I was concerned when they conceded a second – it seems that if they concede one, they concede two, and that’s not good enough.”
Manchester-born league debutant Marcus Rashford, 18, netted twice in four minutes for the Red Devils, and the two-goal deficit proved too great to overturn.
If you want to be champions, it’s not necessarily a clear path all the way
“Now everybody in the media wants to take a chunk out of them,” Keown continued. “But if you want to be champions, it’s not necessarily a clear path all the way. It’s about how you deal with the problems; how you react. They have to show character now. You know, I see a lot of character in the Leicester team. I see tremendous work-rate.”
Leicester the example
The Foxes have defied all expectations to lead the table as the season enters its final months, despite losing twice to Arsenal, 5-2 in September and 2-1 at the Emirates on Valentine’s Day.
Keown insists the title is still very much up for grabs, however. “It’s by no means over, this Premier League,” said the former England defender. “There are lots of opportunities still to go. If Arsenal can play the first 10 minutes of a game like they play the last 10 minutes then they still have a chance.
“But that has to come from within, in terms of the desire you need to show.”
Last three standing
The Match of the Day pundit also believes there are now only three teams in contention for the league title: Leicester, Arsenal and Spurs.
“I feel we’re down to three teams now, I don’t know if Manchester City can get back into it – I know they’ve got games in hand but they’re 10 points behind Leicester. And you wouldn’t bet against Liverpool beating them.”
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