Martin Keown praises Gabriel Martinelli but warns Arsenal after progressing to Europa League quarter-finals despite Olympiacos loss

Arsenal v Olympiacos - UEFA Europa League Round Of 16 Leg Two
Martinelli was a bright spark despite the defeat (Picture: Getty Images)

Martin Keown praised Gabriel Martinelli but sent a stark warning to Arsenal after they sealed their place in the quarter-finals of the Europa League with a 3-2 aggregate victory against Olympiacos despite losing 1-0 at the Emirates on Thursday night.

Having built up a 3-1 lead in the away leg, the Gunners made lives difficult for themselves with a laboured display.

Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed a series of gilt-edged chances to extend his side’s lead and Arsenal went a goal down early on in the second half when Youssef El-Arabi cut inside and scored a deflected effort to put the pressure on.

El-Arabi, the scorer of the goal that sent the Gunners out of the competition last season, gave Arteta's side a scare on Thursday
El-Arabi, the scorer of the goal that sent the Gunners out of the competition last season, gave Arteta’s side a scare on Thursday (Picture: Getty Images)

One of those opportunities was forged by second-half substitute Martinelli, who came on in the 81st minute and set up Aubemeyang with a teasing cross, but the striker’s flick was saved and his athletic bicycle kick on the rebound sailed over the bar.

19-year-old Martinelli, who impressed with 10 goals in his first 26 games for the club last season, has seen his playing time limited in recent months, and Keown admitted he doesn’t see enough of the winger.

‘By the way, I thought Martinelli again did especially well when he came on,’ Keown told BT Sport.

‘I don’t see enough of him.’

Despite El-Arabi’s goal giving the Gunners a scare, Arteta’s side held on to go through and will discover their next opponents in Friday’s quarter-final draw.

But Keown feels his former side did the bare minimum and will need to step up their performances if they wish to compete for big trophies again.

‘If I’m on that pitch I want to demand more from the people around me,’ he added. ‘I could sense it was, ‘let’s just do enough’, no, no, no if you want to win something big you’ve got to go out there and win and represent the club.

‘And that’s what comes up at the weekend, West Ham.

‘I’m already now in that dressing room saying, ‘guys, let’s rest well because we’ve got a big game at the weekend, we can turn our season around, we keep winning and then everybody fears playing against Arsenal’.

‘If they know that you’re a little bit of a soft touch on a difficult night, people sense that and take advantage of it and it can’t be allowed to grow.

‘But, nonetheless, sweep it to one side and let’s move towards the next game.’

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