Martin Keown slammed Arsenal and their interim boss Freddie Ljungberg as ‘lucky’ after they topped their Europa League group following a 2-2 draw with Standard Liege.
Arsenal had to score twice in the final 12 minutes to avoid defeat in Belgium, and former Gunners centre-back Keown blasted their “lack of desire and hunger”.
Youngster Bukayo Saka impressed, creating a goal for Alexandre Lacazette and then scoring a fine effort himself to earn the Gunners a point.
But Keown highlighted another young player, saying 18-year-old sub Gabriel Martinelli displayed a work rate that should have been shown by the senior players in the team.
Keown said his former club were lucky to get away with a draw on Thursday night.
“One thing you need when you’re a manager is luck and Freddie Ljungberg was very lucky tonight,” Keown said on BT Sport.
“The game changed when [Gabriel] Martinelli came off the bench tonight – 69th minute, a young player, a desire and a work rate you’d expect from the senior players.
“I didn’t see a role model in that team. He came on and changed it. The older players were a long time getting to that level for Arsenal.”
Ljungberg fielded a new-look starting side, with Keown believing so many changes were a mistake and saying the interim boss should have stuck with a team closer to the one which won 3-1 at West Ham on Monday night.
“I think Freddie Ljungberg should have kept it simple,” said the 53-year-old. “He should have played a back four, pretty much the same team he played the other night.
“There was too many changes. We need to get back the desire and hunger from the players. And while Freddie is in charge, he should be implementing that change at Arsenal.”
He added: “I was so disappointed with the lack of desire and hunger from the team. Keep it simple.
“As a young coach I wouldn’t have even bothered going to a back three. I wouldn’t have been certain I understood it well enough.”