Arsenal star criticised by Martin Keown after Champions League exit | Football

Martin Keown speaking after Arsenal’s Champions League exit (Picture: TNT Sports)

Martin Keown criticised Bukayo Saka after Arsenal’s ‘hugely disappointing’ Champions League exit and said his former club ‘did not deserve’ to get past Bayern Munich.

Joshua Kimmich’s powerful second-half header was enough to send Bayern through to the semi-finals in a 3-2 aggregate win over Arsenal.

Arsenal were the favourites to advance before the tie, having mounted another Premier League title challenge this season under Mikel Arteta.

They were facing a Bayern Munich team who, for the first time since 2011, failed to win the Bundesliga, creating huge uncertainty over the future of head coach Thomas Tuchel.

But 2022 Champions League winners Bayern showed their European pedigree to get past Arsenal, who last reached the semi-finals in 2009.

Keown said he felt ‘as flat’ as Arsenal’s performance after the game and criticised Saka, whose decision to take a quick free-kick in the dying seconds of the game proved ineffective.

‘It was very disappointing, kind of summed up at the end there when Saka for some reason taking a free kick [short] when there was the opportunity to really test the goalkeeper,’ Keown told TNT Sports.

Bukayo Saka after Arsenal were beaten by Bayern Munich

Bukayo Saka after Arsenal were beaten by Bayern Munich (Picture: Getty)

‘You just saw that little bit of lack of experience. There needs to be more urgency in the closing exchanges. Saka made that decision in the moment.  

‘I admire that as well. But I think he might have been better taking that delivery from the free kick and it might have been a wonder goal. 

‘I feel as flat as the performance. They were flat throughout the game, there was no real urgency at the end. It’s hugely disappointing.

‘It was there for the taking but Bayern came out with that extra resolve. It’s a really disappointing night for Arsenal. You just want the players to perform to their maximum but that didn’t happen tonight.

‘You don’t deserve to go through if you play a performance like that tonight.’

Mikel Arteta said his squad was ‘gutted’ after their European exit but urged the fans to ‘stick with the players’ as they attempt to end the season on a high.

Arsenal are still challenging for the Premier League title with six games to go but lost ground on Manchester City after Sunday’s defeat at home to Aston Villa.

‘At the moment it is a gutted dressing room. We are very disappointed,’ said Arteta.

‘We have to go through it. We tried against a team with a lot of experience. Through the tie the margins have been very small. There were moments that we were better, we gave them two goals – that is a big advantage to give away.

‘Today you could see that it was a zero margin of error. We made a mistake defensively in the box, a big one, and we give away the goal.

‘Now is the moment to stick with the players, because they need our support. They are the ones that have taken us on this journey.’

Bayern Munich will face Real Madrid in the semi-finals of the Champions League after the 14-time winners beat Manchester City on penalties.

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