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Arsenal balls: why pundits have it in for Ozil

It’s fair to say that Martin Keown is no fan of Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil, offering to to-deadline opinion in October: “I think in some departments he’s already left. Psychologically, mentally, he’s already left the football club.” And on it went, Keown alluding to world Cup winner Ozil being a malign influence on teammates – “I think [Wenger] doesn’t want that sort of player around the youngsters in the group,” – and that Ozil has “downed tools”.

Pundits like to hammer home a point, even if it’s wrong. Ozil played superbly well in Arsenal 2-0 win over Spurs, putting in a man-of-the-match performance and earning a standing ovation from the fans. But Keown spots a hole in his Daily Mail column and offers: “This weekend, we have learned nothing new about Ozil.”

We who spotted Ozil’s record equalling 19 assists in the 2015-16 season, his 12 chances created when Arsenal played Sunderland in May and keeps Arsenal moving forward. But to Keown, Ozil invites the questions, “Will he work as hard on Sunday when Arsenal travel to Burnley?” Probably. Ozil ran further last season than every Arenal player bar Nacho Monreal.  But Keown has the blinekrs on: “This weekend, we have learned nothing new about Ozil. We know he is immensely talented. But if he does not perform and Arsenal fail to get three points at Turf Moor, this victory will have been for nothing.”

No. It’ll have been for three points and bragging rights . Ozil will have been instrumental in defeating Spurs, a team billed as potential Premier League title winners and the coming force in English football. To make that worth nothing is to flush Ozil’s sublime play down the memory hole.

But we’re not looking at Ozil, who remains easy on the yes. We’re looking at Keown, whose opinions tell us much about his attitude to football: scream, shout, go in hard and show off your scars. The difference between Keown and Ozil is acute: whereas Keown was lucky to have a role in a pragmatic Arsenal side; a more progressive Arenal are lucky to have Ozil.




Mesut Ozil needs to be challenged every week to put in as special a performance as he did in the north London derby.
When you play Tottenham, you do not need any motivation. If anything, you have to keep your emotions in check. You have to play with your head, not your heart.
A cynic would say that Ozil’s performance merely guaranteed him his move in January. Will he work as hard on Sunday when Arsenal travel to Burnley?
If both Ozil and Alexis Sanchez perform as they did against Spurs for the rest of the season, they will be able to leave Arsenal with everyone’s blessing. They will have given their all until the last.
Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil fired Arsenal to victory as they beat bitter rivals Spurs 2-0 +5
Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil fired Arsenal to victory as they beat bitter rivals Spurs 2-0
Arsenal are a different animal at home but Arsene Wenger needs to equip his team to win on the road. They have lost four of their six Premier League away games, winning just once at Everton in Ronald Koeman’s last match in charge.
To get into the top four, Wenger needs to map out the upcoming fixtures and keep pushing Ozil to shine in every game.
This weekend, we have learned nothing new about Ozil. We know he is immensely talented. But if he does not perform and Arsenal fail to get three points at Turf Moor, this victory will have been for nothing.


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Posted: 21st, November 2017 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Arsenal balls: ‘Sanchez damaged Gunners by training on his day off’ – Keown

“PRIMA GUNNERS,” accuses the Sun on Tuesday. “Keown blasts over-indulged Alexis and Ozil.”

Keown Arsenal Ozil Sanchez


Gunner-turned pundit Martin Keown has a view on Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. They damaged Arsenal with their behaviour, says Martin. What did they do? And did they do it worse than Francis Coquelin, Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, Alex Iwobi or Kieran Gibbs?

“It became about Ozil and Sanchez for too long in the season. Their behaviour let Arsenal down in that period,” says Keown.  “Sanchez is a difficult man to manage off the pitch. I was at the training ground on one of his days off and he suddenly turned up and was bouncing around the training pitch.”

The nutcase turned up on a day off and trained. The selfish,  useless c…!

“They were having to facilitate him and put a training session on for him,” Keown continues. “It’s not necessarily about you as a player – you have to fit in as well with the group.”

Maybe if all the other Arsenal played trained on their days off, the Gunners might have done better?

As for Ozil, says Martin:

“If I was playing in some of the games when Ozil doesn’t get a perfect pass, I would have been in his ear telling him my bit. ”

Ready? It’s going to be long break in play as Martin critiques his team-mate mid-match:

“I’d have said, ‘I’m trying to give the ball to you, don’t disrespect me in the way you do when I don’t get the ball to you. And how about you working just as hard out of possession as I’m working out of possession? I can’t ever get close to the creativity you can create but I want you to work hard when we are not in possession – because we’re not quite good enough to win things without every single player applying himself in possession and out of possession.'”

Why can’t Ozil be more like Keown? Answer in the form of a long ball into the cheap seats.


Posted: 23rd, May 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Philippe Coutinho Injury news: Liverpool star does a break, a twist and a Beckham

Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho was taken from the Anfield pitch on a stretcher, his leg in a brace. How bad is the injury to Liverpool’s best player? One expert decides it’s best just to guess.

On the BBC website, former Arsenal ‘rash’ Martin Keown says it could be a really bad injury. Or maybe it isn’t. Lest anyone think Keown a medial genius who can diagnose an injury from hundreds of miles away, he tells us that he’s “speculating”.


Liverpool Philippe Coutinho


The Guardian is unsure what to make of what “appeared a serious ankle or foot injury”.

ESPN observes: “Philippe Coutinho was withdrawn in the first half with an injury to his lower right leg.”

The Liverpool Echo says his leg as in a “splint”. The Star say sit was in an “air cast”.

In the Express, James Cambridge ups the ante and says Coutinho has a broken foot – maybe.


Liverpool Philippe Coutinho


Why does Cambridge think it’s a break? Well, he quotes a few tweeters who say they hope it isn’t a break. And he also quotes – yep – Martin Keown.

To put the tin lid on the Express’s utter balls, readers are told more about an injury to which Coutinho might not have succumbed :

Wayne Rooney was ruled out of the 2004 European Championships with a metatarsal injury and was sidelined for around two months.

The Manchester United captain has been plagued with metatarsal inuries [sic] and suffered his third in August 2007 and was out for six weeks.


james cambridge daily express Liverpool



David Beckham famously broke his metatarsal before the 2002 World Cup and was a major doubt for the tournament.

The final word is with someone who knows. Says Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp: “It [Philippe Coutinho’s injury] is an ankle injury but we can’t say anymore until we see a scan.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 26th, November 2016 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The Martin Keown Ward at Oxford General And Other Ways To Make England Great At Football


PANIC over. Martin Keown, the once formidable Arsenal enforcer, has created “blueprint” for England football. The only worry is that he’s has chosen to make his masterplan public via the Daily Mail. The odds on foreigners looking in are high. The plan might be undone before it can be made real. Still, we’ll take a look.

I remember seeing a Japanese man standing on the touchline at our Arsenal training sessions.  He was there for the best part of a year, furiously scribbling in his notebook come sun, wind and rain. He was desperate to learn how Arsene Wenger trained us, hoping to pick up tips and secrets – and take them back to Japan.  But in all my time at the club winning trophies in a team that played such attractive football, I never saw anyone from the FA doing the same. It’s madness.

Number of World Cups won by Japan since that note-taking? None.

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Posted: 14th, November 2013 | In: Sports | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Chelsea want to win Champins League, says newspaper expert

FOOTBALL Pundit of the Day: the Daily Mail’s tame former Arsenal, Everton and England player Martin Keown has inside news on Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea in the Champions’ League:

Both Jose and his players have won the Champions League now, just not together — and I think that is something he will want to achieve with this group of players.

Yer think he wants to win, Martin? Well, if you say so…

Posted: 20th, September 2013 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Martin Keown says Cristiano Ronaldo plays football like an NFL basketballer – a meme is born

WE in the UK like to think Americans know as much about football as they do about irony. It transpires that the UK knows nothing about the Americans. Hence we commend to your attention Curb Your Enthusiasm, Bilko, Friends, Seinfeld and Fulham’s Texas-reared import Clint Dempsey. But worse than that – worse even than British sit-coms – is the Britisher who showcases his ignorance of American sports.

Now, don’t get us wrong, American sports are no great shakes. Each year Anorak celebrates the Super Bowl in traditional fashion by walking around Ikea. But if Martin Keown, for instance, wants to compare the sublime cha-cha-chaing Cristiano Ronaldo, of Real Madrid and Portugal, with a player from American sports, he should get his facts right or risk looking a berk.

When commentating on the Portugal-Czech Republic game at Euro 2012, Keown dropped a clanger:

A meme is born:

Posted: 23rd, June 2012 | In: Sports | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0