Martin Keown reckons that Arsenal were lucky to get away with their ‘non-existent’ defending against Red Star Belgrade on Thursday evening.

Keown was fuming at half-time during Arsenal’s eventual 1-0 win over Red Star in the Europa League.

The former centre-back blasted Arsene Wenger’s side’s lack of defending and said they were lucky to get away with it.

“Well it (the marking) was kind of non-existent,” he said on BT Sport.

“I’m looking at that and thinking which player for Arsenal is going to go and head the ball?

“That’s your role in the team, head it.

“Not one of the Arsenal players leaves the ground and really, they are lucky to get away with that.

It’s the zonal system, but mark your zone, take responsibility.

“Who’s that player who is going to head the ball in that Arsenal defence tonight?

“Arsenal have had a lot of possession but on the counter attack Red Star Belgrade have looked very dangerous.

“You start looking at whether Arsenal have got the necessary pace. At times Arsenal have looked quite loose.

“They get away with it because their midfield retrieves them, but they’ve got good pace at the top of the team and Arsenal look particularly vulnerable.”

Wenger started a rather unconventional back three of Rob Holding, Mohamed Elneny and Mathieu Debuchy during the Thursday night clash in Serbia.

Holding is 22 and showing signs that he might not be quite cut out for first team football just yet, Elneny is a defensive midfielder and Debuchy hadn’t played for Arsenal’s senior squad since November 2016.

rob holding red star
Belgrade’s forward Richmond Boakye (L) vies with Arsenal’s defender Rob Holding (R) during the UEFA Europa League football between Belgrade (Crvena zvezda) and Arsenal, on October 19, 2017 in Belgrade.(ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images)

During the first half particularly, the Gunners did look incredibly vulnerable, with Elneny often being left to deal with corners on his own.

Debuchy did make five clearances and we managed to keep a clean sheet but, let’s face it, it was hardly a dazzling victory.

As Keown says, Arsenal were lucky to get away with it.

The Gunners travel to Everton on Sunday and will most likely field a very different starting XI to the one we saw against Red Star. However, the Toffees aren’t exactly loving life right now as they’re down in 15th so perhaps this is a good time to face them regardless of our back line.

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