Martin Keown: The Arsenal star who can be Unai Emery’s creative force

Arsenal legend Martin Keown wants to see David Luiz on the ball more often

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
Martin Keown
Ex-Arsenal defender Martin Keown (Photo: BT Sport)

Martin Keown has urged Unai Emery to use David Luiz like a quarterback in the Arsenal team.

The Spanish head coach is asking his Gunners side to play out from the back in the Premier League this season as Emery looks to develop an identity for his team.

However, Arsenal have the paid the price for overplaying on the ball this season, with Sokratis Papastathopoulos’ mistake punished by Watford at Vicarage Road last weekend.

Indeed, playing it out from the back has caused Arsenal numerous problems in the Premier League this season given that not all of Emery’s defenders are comfortable on the ball.

Although Luiz has already conceded two penalties in the Premier League this season, one of Brazil international’s strengths is his passing ability.

Former Arsenal defender Keown wants to see Emery place more of an emphasis on giving Luiz the ball to built out from the back.

“Sokratis seemed obsessed with passing to Matteo Guendouzi and, well, we know the rest. For all his faults defensively, Luiz is a good passer,” Keown told the Daily Mail.

“It’s time to play to his strengths. As their most proficient player in possession, Arsenal ought to consider leaving him as the only outfield player in their box. Him stood next to Leno can be like having two men stood over a free-kick.

“He can receive a short pass from Leno, control it with his left foot then pick a pass with his right.

“In this era of statistics, it is interesting to note how no player attempted more through-balls than Luiz in 2018-19. The Brazilian managed 42 – the next nearest defender was Antonio Rudiger on eight.

“Unai Emery has to try to use that to his advantage. Luiz could act as his quarter-back.”

Arsenal signed Luiz in an £8m deal from bitter rivals Chelsea FC in the summer transfer window.

The Brazilian defender won the Premier League title, the Champions League, two Europa League titles and two FA Cups during his spell at Chelsea FC.

The Gunners are looking to secure a long-awaited return to the Champions League following a three-season absence.

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