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Keane’s damning Arteta and “problem players” assessment rings true at bad time

Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal were beaten 2-1 by Wolves on Tuesday night.

But it’s not the dropped points that will have the Gunners manager shaking his head in disbelief this Wednesday, it’s the way in which the game was thrown away that will irk him.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves haven’t been in the same great form they were in last season and were there for the taking at the Molineux.

A win for the Gunners would have seen them leapfrog Tottenham and move into sixth.

And they were well on their way to beating the midlands club when Nicolas Pepe opened the scoring for Arsenal after the half hour mark.

But the fun in north London was short lived when Willian Jose was brought down in the box by David Luiz and the Brazilian defender was given his marching orders.

David Luiz was shown a red card for Arsenal

Wolves star Ruben Neves tucked away the subsequent penalty, and Arsenal’s night unravelled from their with them conceding again after the break and Bernd Leno also seeing red.

In fairness to Luiz the sending off was a harsh one.

But it seems it is no coincidence that it was the centre-back involved in the game-changing moment that left Arsenal with egg of their face.

Luiz has previous for producing a clanger and infamously did so against Manchester City last season, giving the Citizens a goal on a plate and then later receiving a red card.

After his suspension, Arteta eventually returned Luiz to the starting XI, where he proved that on his day he is an important player for Arsenal.

Mikel Arteta will be disappointed with the way in which his side threw away points
Mikel Arteta will be disappointed with the way in which his side threw away points

But it seems all too often he lets his team-mates down… catastrophically too.

Arsenal were beaten 3-1 by Liverpool last season, and Manchester United legend Roy Keane provided an honest assessment of the club on Sky Sports.

The Irishman said Arteta can succeed at Arsenal, but believes he must first rid the Gunners of “problem players”. Luiz, was of course the top of his list.

Keane said on Sky Sports: “There’s no getting away from that but he will still want some improvement. His hands are tied which is a big problem because he still needs a couple more players in.

Roy Keane previously spoke out about problem players at Arsenal
Roy Keane previously spoke out about problem players at Arsenal

“We saw again tonight that defensively – I still think David Luiz, Kieran Tierney and Rob Holding, there’s big question marks over them. Luiz still has that mistake in him.”

Since Keane’s comments both defenders Tierney and Holding have come on leaps and bounds, but after Tuesday’s performance there are indeed still question marks over Luiz.

Arteta and Arsenal were relatively inactive in the January transfer window, bringing in Martin Odegaard to produce some attacking umph.

Sead Kolasinac and Shkodran Mustafi were let go, suggesting room was being made for a new defensive signing. But one never arrived.

Luiz was perhaps unfortunate to be shown a red card
Luiz was perhaps unfortunate to be shown a red card

Arteta certainly made a start in removing some of the deadwood at Arsenal, but perhaps he should have been more ruthless.

Maybe more players should have left and a reliable centre-back brought in now, rather than in the summer transfer window.

In short, there is still much work to be done. Arteta still needs to identify and remove the “problem players” if he is to turn his Arsenal tenure into a successful one.

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