Martin Keown has slammed Arsenal for their embarrassing performance against Ostersunds, in the second leg of the round-of-32 tie of the Europa League which saw the Gunners lose the home leg 2-1, but advanced into the next round 4-2 on aggregate. The north London club had fielded a second string side for the game, having all but confirmed their place in the round-of-16 with a 3-0 win in the away leg.
However, they were in for a shock as a pair of first-half goals within 70 seconds from Hosam Aiesh and Ken Sema had Swedish visitors Ostersunds dreaming of the unlikeliest of upsets at the Emirates Stadium. However, full-back Sead Kolasinac's goal just after the break moved the tie in Arsenal's favour but the Gunners were unable to grab an equaliser.
The loss comes only three days before their Carabao Cup final against Manchester City at Wembley and a repeat of this performance against Pep Guardiola's men is unlikely to go unpunished. The north London club are likely to call back a host of stars, including the likes of Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang while Aaron Ramsey is also in the reckoning for a return from a groin injury.
However, Keown is unimpressed with the fringe players, who do not get too many opportunities to prove their worth and when they are actually called in to perform, they fail to deliver the results. The Gunners saw a host of departures in the summer, including the likes of Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott, and Keown believes that given the level of performance shown by the rest, a few more departures may be forthcoming.
"It is not a tap you can turn on and off if you are going to perform," Keown raged on BT Sport, as quoted by the Mirror.
"There are so many players on the pitch there, they get limited opportunities and it is worrying that they are not at the same level. It reflects on the training and how they are prepared mentally and physically. It was an embarrassing first-half performance.
"Arsene Wenger is in the mood for change and if you look at the players he has got rid of in the last two transfer windows, it is staggering.
"And there might be one or two more that aren't good enough and are now fighting for their future. Whenever you play, you have to make your mark and they weren't at it.
"I'm looking at Iwobi, wondering what direction his career is going in. He is getting so many opportunities but there is a list of there tonight that won't be happy with their performance."