Martin Keown has said that Mikel Arteta is ‘right to set the bar high’ after he brought on several first team starters in the second half of the game against Bodo/Glimt despite already being 2-0 up.
With their second Europa League group game all but won, Mikel Arteta brought on Gabriel Jesus, Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka, and Ben White.
Arsenal fans, scarred from years of trauma watching their top players fall to pieces right before a big game, were worried.
But we needn’t have been. They helped Arsenal score another to finally kill the game and nobody got hurt.
Speaking on BT Sport where he was providing pre and post-match analysis, Martin Keown believes the substitutions were a clear sign that Arteta has a high bar that he wants his players to clear.
“Mikel Arteta is right to set the bar high,” Keown said. “They’re top of the league.
“They’ve got a a tough game coming up against Liverpool so they need the next lot to prove they need to be at the top.
“He wants more, perfection. It worked at Zurich but I felt one or two struggled in the early stages. Jesus coming off the bench demonstrates to the group ‘look at the quality, I am the top man’.
“He’s the role model within the group. Liverpool are sitting there and Klopp’s watching, they’re going to have to be up for that challenge.
“But it will be a very different Emirates experience this time – it’s a special day for every game there.”
Speaking after the game, Arteta himself said that, although he was happy, the side had lacked ‘connection’.
“I’m really happy,” Arteta said. “Today we played a different opponent, a difficult opponent, I mentioned that before and I think everybody saw that.
“We made a lot of changes, eight I think, and I’m really happy winning the game, scoring three goals and a clean sheet, but overall as well you could sense in certain moments that that connection, that timing – this needed time on the pitch. It was a little bit missing in certain moments to be more dominant in the game.”