‘Lucky Arsenal must improve to make top four’ – Keown still not convinced by Gunners

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Unai Emery's side are up to third in the Premier League, one point behind champions Manchester City, but are considered to still have much to work on

Arsenal are up to third in the Premier League table, but Martin Keown claims they have been “lucky” at times and still have work to do in order to secure a top-four finish.

After eight games of the 2019-20 campaign, the Gunners sit just one point back on reigning champions Manchester City.

They have gone eight games without defeat in all competitions, with five victories secured during that run .

Positive progress is being made at home and abroad, with an exciting young side suggesting that they have the potential to claim Champions League qualification for the first time since 2016.

A 1-0 victory over Bournemouth in their most recent outing has kept Arsenal upwardly mobile, but Keown sees room for improvement from a team yet to fully convince him.

The former Gunners defender told Match of the Day 2 : “It’s been a difficult week for Arsenal and I thought they pressed really well [against Bournemouth].

“The intensity in their play, that is what every good team is looking for. It’s not just playing with the ball, it’s what you do without it.

“I thought they started the game very well. Everyone was engaging, they forced Bournemouth back and they were struggling a bit.

“[Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang is trying to fix the play and everyone else is engaged, so they play it long, and Arsenal win it back. Then they can be creative and this is what Arsenal are good at.

“They’ve got that creativity, they’re well probed. They’re all on the front foot, ready to break. But in the second half they seemed to switch off.

“Aubameyang, you are scoring the goals but you need to work harder. I know it’s tough but you can’t allow space, [Bukayo] Saka as well. [Dani] Ceballos is late, they don’t engage properly and the back four is far too deep. Maybe [Granit] Xhaka should push in a bit closer. That left space behind the full-backs, so Bournemouth were running wild into those spaces.

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“It’s a problem for Arsenal when it goes into the front players, they need to be better at that. David Luiz scored the winner but he must get back, help the team. Arsenal were lucky on a number of occasions.

“Ceballos, the poor guy is there on his own. The two other midfielders need to get up the field. These are things you definitely need to work on in training because better teams will punish you. That has to improve if they are to finish in the top four.”

Arsenal will return to action after the international break with a trip to Sheffield United on October 21.

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