Martin Keown praises Mikel Arteta for axing Arsenal star ahead of Spurs clash

Martin Keown has praised Mikel Arteta’s decision to drop Willian and play Reiss Nelson ahead of Arsenal’s clash with Tottenham on Sunday.

Willian has struggled for form in recent weeks and has registered just one assist in his last 12 appearances for the Gunners.

Nelson, meanwhile, has impressed in the Europa League this season and is now making a strong case to start ahead of the Brazilian in the Premier League.

Keown has been impressed with the impact Nelson has made in Arteta’s side this season.

And the former Arsenal defender believes the 20-year-old’s performances could provide a wake-up call for Willian.

‘I like Nelson, I like his energy,’ Keown told BT Sport.

‘You look at Willian… Willian’s a better player but he’s not playing with the same enthusiasm at the moment.

‘Something’s not right with Willian, so he puts Nelson in ahead of him and I think that’s right. That might get the best out of Willian in the future.

‘He hasn’t scored himself since July. I think it was against Watford for Chelsea. We need to see the best from him.

‘He started the season okay but we haven’t seen an urgency in his play.

‘Once you see a player like that get up to top speed… that’s the challenge from Arteta, to get the best out of Willian.’

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