Arsenal proved against Chelsea that they do not need contract rebels Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, says Martin Keown.
The Gunners headed to Stamford Bridge on Sunday aware that they needed a positive performance to help answer some of the uncomfortable questions which continue to be asked of them.
In a brave move, Arsene Wenger opted to leave want-away forward Alexis on the bench – with the Chilean yet to start a Premier League game since failing to secure a deadline-day move to Manchester City.
World Cup winner Ozil was also missing through injury, but Arsenal held their own against the defending champions to earn a 0-0 draw and praise for their approach without two star turns.
“There has been so much fear at Arsenal of losing Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil,” former Gunners defender Keown told the Daily Mail.
“This excellent performance at Chelsea without them made you wonder what all the fuss was about.
“Without these two, Arsenal were much better defensively. They were disciplined, worked together and pressed as a unit to close down Chelsea.
“This was the first time that Chelsea have failed to score at Stamford Bridge under Antonio Conte. When Chelsea were in possession, Arsenal put them under such pressure they made Gary Cahill look like he could not pass.
“How many times do you see Sanchez flying forward to press and no one coming to join him? Arsene Wenger has not been brave enough to leave out Ozil but how much does he offer the team?
“With midfielders working around him, Aaron Ramsey was able to get on the ball more. He ran the show in midfield and it was his best display for years.
“For this Arsenal team, it was a chance to step up and prove that they did not need Sanchez and Ozil to perform.”
Neither Alexis nor Ozil have committed to fresh terms at Arsenal as yet.
Both are in the final year of their current deals and will become fresh agents next summer unless they can be convinced to pen extensions, or are moved on during the January transfer window.