Richard Keys hits out at Arsenal over Theo Walcott gesture

Richard Keys criticises Arsenal for handing Theo Walcott the captaincy for Sunday's defeat at Chelsea

Richard Keys has criticised Arsenal for handing Theo Walcott the captain’s armband to mark his 10-year anniversary at the north London club.

The England international led out his team-mates for Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Chelsea at Emirates Stadium as Per Mertesacker relinquished the armband for the game.

It turned out to be an afternoon to forget for Mertesacker after he was sent off in the 18th minute for bringing down Diego Costa, who was through on goal.

Walcott and his Arsenal team-mates struggled to break down Chelsea in front of their home fans as they slumped to a disappointing defeat by the Blues.

Former Sky Sports presenter Keys was less than impressed by Arsenal’s decision to make Walcott captain.

Keys wrote in his personal blog on Monday: “Why did Theo Walcott wear the armband and lead Arsenal out? I know it was to mark the occasion of his signing for Arsenal 10 years ago. So what? When did that become something to be honoured in our game? A 10-year anniversary at one club? Walcott should be on his knees every day saying thanks for his good fortune.

“It set the wrong tone for me. It was a romantic gesture, but Sunday was no place for such nonsense.”

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Sunday’s loss left Arsenal third in the Premier League table and three points behind leaders Leicester City heading into the final 15 games of the season.

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