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Arsenal cannot win Europa League unless away form improves - Martin Keown

The ESPN FC guys rank the Europa League semifinalists and explain why Arsenal are not necessarily among the top three.
The ESPN FC guys rank the Europa League semifinalists and explain why Arsenal are not necessarily among the top three.
Following their dominant victory over CSKA Moscow, the ESPN FC panel discuss what it will take for Arsenal to win the Europa League.

Martin Keown doesn't think Arsenal can win the Europa League unless their away form improves.

Arsenal were on the ropes against CSKA Moscow on Thursday night as they looked in danger of blowing a 4-1 advantage from the first leg when their opponents took a 2-0 lead in the second half.

Goals from Danny Welbeck and Aaron Ramsey eventually rescued a 2-2 draw, but Keown, the Arsenal legend, was left with the sense that the club will struggle in the semifinals, where they will face Atletico Madrid.

"Wenger will be breathing a huge sigh of relief, because at one stage tonight it looked like they would be going the same way as some of the other big teams in Europe," Keown said in the BT Sport studio, referencing Barcelona's Champions League exit and Real Madrid's struggles against Juventus.

"They seemed to lack purpose, they were losing individual battles, then [Mohamed] Elneny finds the pass of the game and you're wondering what all the fuss is about. You start to [wonder], can Arsenal win the competition? On this performance, no. Away from home is their Achilles heel. They didn't look like a team.

"In the end, they showed the character they needed to, and Wenger has a lot of work to do if this team is to go beyond the semifinals."

Goalkeeper Petr Cech was partly responsible for CSKA's second goal as he parried a shot from distance straight into the path of Kirill Nababkin, but praised his teammates for not losing their heads after that.

"At 2-0, the game can go either way and you have to make sure you are strong in your mind and you don't panic," Cech told Arsenal's website. "We didn't panic and we did well in that period. We calmed down and found a way to score goals, and the first was important."

Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.


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