Martin Keown has questioned Mikel Arteta’s decision to sell Emiliano Martinez this summer, while he has likened Thomas Partey to Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira.
Partey’s performance was a highlight on what was an average night for the Gunners in Austria, as goals from David Luiz and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang saw them beat Rapid Vienna 2-1 after Bernd Leno’s error had gifted the hosts a second-half lead.
The 27-year-old Ghana international had been a long-term target for Arsenal before they finally landed their man from Atletico Madrid in the closing hours of the transfer window.
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He made his debut off the bench in Saturday’s Premier League defeat at Manchester City but was comfortable from the outset on his first start.
On Partey’s performance, Keown told BT Sport: “I think you know when you see a player immediately add that touch of class, who wants to play and makes things happen. He’s so silky smooth, he’s oozed class and been everywhere.
“This is where he looks like Vieira for me when he’s travelling with the ball and making things happen.”
Arsenal were poor for the first hour of the game, culminating with Leno presenting possession to the opposition as he looked to play out from the back and Taxiarchis Fountas putting Rapid ahead.
Leno’s confidence was clearly knocked and he made two further mistakes that, fortunately for Arsenal, did not lead to goals.
And that has led Keown to question whether letting Martinez join Aston Villa this summer was the correct decision from Arteta.
“Having let Martinez go, who was magnificent, to see Leno making these types of mistakes, you wonder whether it was the right call.
“It was a difficult night for Leno. The team had their backs to the wall but showed very good character to get back into it.
“A couple of changes were made. I thought when they changed it actually and went to a back five, the pictures then became more familiar to the players and they found a way to win this match.”
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