Martin Keown believes Freddie Ljungberg must make a critical decision ahead of Arsenal's clash with West Ham after the club suffered their latest defeat, losing 2-1 at the Emirates against Brighton & Hove Albion.
The Gunners are without a win in nine games in all competitions, with Thursday's defeat ensuring they remain ten points adrift of the crucial Champions League places. A first home game under Ljungberg's reign since Unai Emery was sacked last week, the result only highlights the monumental task ahead of the interim manager, who admitted after the match that his squad are desperately short of confidence at present.
Indeed, Martin Keown has suggested the Brighton defeat is an indication of the club's present trajectory, embodying issues that extend far wider than just the ongoings on the pitch. The Gunners, who are now in tenth place in the league - closer to the bottom three than the top four - are in desperate need of a resurgence if they are to retain any hopes of getting European football next season.
Keown criticises Bellerin following Brighton defeat
Arsenal's game against West Ham on Monday night is the perfect opportunity to do so, and Keown has suggested a decision on Bellerin must be made after the right-back struggled to impress on Thursday.
"I think Bellerin's interview afterwards said it all, he said they didn't really know what to say, and they looked lost," Keown told TalkSport. "When you are a manager, you impart your knowledge to the players, and you stitch in what you need, and each player is then serving a role you have encouraged them to do."
"Bellerin looked lost, the team looked lost. I have to look at the previous manager, and realise it is even worse than we really realised."
"From the sideline he was very active, but you do your work within the week. You shouldn't need to be ranting from the sideline, you should just need to make the odd adjustment. That was obviously a big problem."
Ljungberg has an important defensive call to make, believes Keown
Furthermore, Keown believes that Ljungberg has an important decision to make in defence ahead of the game, with Arsenal continuing to leak precious goals at the back while maintaining an over reliance on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette at the opposite end.
"Freddie either has to play a back three, or drop David Luiz," he said. "I would take David Luiz out of the team, because he is dropping so deep."
The Brazilian joined Arsenal from Chelsea in the summer but has failed to make a positive impression thus far, with his indecision and petulance costing the Gunners dearly in several games. Given the club's ongoing issues, it'll be interesting to see how Ljungberg approaches the decision ahead of West Ham.