Keown slams Wenger's 'stunning' Sanchez call

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The former Arsenal defender was highly critical of the French coach's rationale regarding the Chile international following their defeat

Martin Keown has slammed Arsene Wenger's decision to start Alexis Sanchez on the bench against Liverpool, describing the Arsenal manager's decision as "stunning".

The Gunners suffered a 3-1 defeat against Liverpool on Saturday, with Wenger leaving Sanchez on the substitutes' bench for the opening 45 minutes before introducing the Chile international in the second half.

Wenger defends Sanchez decision

By that point, Arsenal were trailing by two goals as Liverpool surged into the lead at Anfield and, despite Wenger's explanation that he wanted to play more directly, Keown was highly critical of the call.

"Stunning. I really can't understand why Wenger wouldn't want to play him. He's their best player," the former Arsenal defender said, speaking on BBC's 'Match of the Day'.

"They didn't actually do that [play more direct] in the match. I'm struggling to remember a more tepid Arsenal performance in the last 20 years under Wenger.

"There was a lack of spirit, of fire in their bellies. They just didn't turn up in that first half and left themselves with far too much to do."

The defeat to Liverpool sees Arsenal drop to fifth in the Premier League table, two points behind Manchester City and just one point ahead of Manchester United.

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