Martin Keown and Joe Cole slam four Arsenal players after PSV defeat

Martin Keown and Joe Cole criticised four Arsenal players after the Europa League defeat to PSV Eindhoven and said the setback should serve as a reality check to Mikel Arteta’s side.

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The Premier League leaders missed a chance to secure top spot in Europa League Group A as they were beaten 2-0 by PSV in the Netherlands.

The Gunners needed a point to go straight through to the knockout stages but were undone by second-half goals from Joey Veerman and Luuk de Jong.

Arsenal now need to beat Zurich in their final group game next week to guarantee a place in the last-16 and avoid dropping into the knockout round play-offs.

It was a difficult night for the Gunners – who failed to win for only the third time this season – with Ruud van Nistelrooy’s PSV also having three goals ruled out for offside.

Keown and Cole believe the defeat will be a ‘little reminder’ to the squad that they are not yet the finished article and criticised Rob Holding, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Aaron Ramsdale and Kieran Tierney for their roles in PSV’s goals.

Holding and Lokonga did not cover themselves in glory for PSV’s opener, with Holding getting spun by Luuk de Jong before Lokonga failed to stick with the run of Veerman.

Meanwhile, Ramsdale failed to clear the corner in which PSV doubled their lead, while Tierney was overpowered by goalscorer De Jong.

‘It was disappointing and they will be hurting in the dressing room because they were second best throughout,’ Keown told BT Sport.

‘Arsenal didn’t have any answers. The atmosphere was difficult for them so they will need to go away and lick their wounds before coming back this weekend.’

Cole added: ‘Arsenal were very poor for the two goals. I don’t want to be too critical because we’ve enjoyed watching them play and Arsenal fans are getting very excited. But today is a little reminder that there’s still work to do.’

On the goals, Keown said: ‘Looking at Rob Holding there [for the first goal], you’ve got to stay goal-side. A big man has come on [De Jong], so Holding’s got to come across.

‘Lokonga could do more with the initial ball and then he just switches off. He’s got to breaking every sinew in his body to get back there and get a block in but he doesn’t.

‘Arteta was pretty ruthless because both players were hooked soon after. It’s a tough school there.

‘For the second goal, Tierney picks up De Jong from the corner and straight away I’m screaming at the TV because he shouldn’t be the one marking him.

‘Ramsdale comes, thinking he can cure the problem, but it’s a big haymaker from him. It’s one of those that needed a straight arm but it was wild from Ramsdale.

‘Tierney doesn’t even get off the ground, I don’t know why he was marking him. If I’m Holding I would make myself available to help him but he didn’t do that either.’

Cole agreed with Keown’s assessment, saying: ‘Rob Holding gets the wrong side of his man, he gets turned by De Jong and then Lokonga just switches off.

‘Those are the basic fundamentals that get you through matches. They were off it on this occasion.

‘I’ve done Tierney’s role when you’re there to block and you have to make contact. He should be backing into him, affecting him, and he didn’t. Ramsdale then needs to come and do much better with the punch.’

Arsenal will look to get back to winning ways on Sunday when Nottingham Forest visit the Emirates Stadium. Forest have largely struggled this season but secured a shock 1-0 win over Liverpool last weekend.

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