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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has been slammed for failing to bring on Gabriel Martinelli early enough in the Gunners’ Europa League exit against Olympiacos. Arsenal lost 2-1 at the Emirates thanks to a last-gasp Youssef El-Arabi goal.
Arsenal crashed out of the Europa League at the Round of 32 stage after a poor display at the Emirates.
Having taken a 1-0 lead into the game from the first-leg, Arsenal were expected to go through to the next round without complication.
However, Pape Abou Cisse levelled the tie with an away goal just after half-time on Thursday night, making it a nervy encounter for Gunners fans.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang then appeared to have sent Arteta’s team through in extra time as he started and concluded a sweeping move with a brilliantly-taken overhead kick.
But with just seconds to play, Olympiacos dealt the final blow in the tie through El-Arabi, who poked in from close range.
And speaking after the game, Gunners hero Martin Keown was enraged by Arteta’s decision to keep Martinelli on the bench until half-time in extra time.
The young Brazilian has been on fire this season – and has three goals in eight Europa League games.
Regardless, Arteta opted to keep him on the sidelines until the 105th minute, at which point he swapped out Alexandre Lacazette for the 18-year-old.
Speaking to BT Sport, Keown lambasted Arteta’s decision, and declared it an “unprofessional performance.”
He said: “We were that close I was tempted to tell Arteta to bring Martinelli on, but you don’t want to be disrespectful.
“It was obvious Martinelli had to come on, we were that close to Arteta I was tempted to go over and say ‘put Martinelli on’. You have to show respect, of course you can’t go and do that.
“The basics and the structure aren’t there. These are schoolboy errors.
“It was an unprofessional performance and Arteta will be looking at it and thinking where does he go from here.
“It’s going to be very difficult to make the Champions League now.
“It really hurts us and there was a lot of anger around at the end. Arteta now has to build this club back up again.
“Almost every single player could have done more.”