'Arteta needs to pick a system & buy accordingly' - Arsenal must settle on defensive approach, says Keown
Mikel Arteta has been advised to "choose a system" and "buy accordingly" at Arsenal, with Martin Keown still looking for the Gunners to dip into the transfer market for defensive reinforcements.
Leaks at the back continue to undermine the efforts of those at Emirates Stadium.
Those flaws were exposed again in a 2-1 north London derby defeat to arch-rivals Tottenham, with the good work overseen by Arteta over recent weeks undone in another error-strewn display.
The highly-rated Spanish coach has vowed to get to the bottom of Arsenal's issues in an important area of the field, but is still having to experiment at present.
Arteta appears unsure as to whether he should be favouring a standard back four or a three centre-half approach, with Keown calling for clarity ahead of a foray into the next recruitment market.
The legendary former Gunners defender told the Daily Mail after seeing Heung-min Son and Toby Alderweireld seal local bragging rights on Sunday: "Both goals conceded by Arsenal could have been avoided. That's the bottom line. Not for the first time, sloppiness was their undoing.
"It had looked like progress was being made of late, with Mikel Arteta's men keeping three consecutive Premier League clean sheets. Were it not for Eddie Nketiah's sending off — and then conceding a late equaliser against Leicester — it might have been four.
"But then they go and do this.
"Let's start with the first goal — the equaliser which arrived three minutes after Alexandre Lacazette's excellent opener. Sead Kolasinac had the ball and Kieran Tierney was open on the wing. But he didn't pass to him.
"Instead, he looked backwards and opted for David Luiz. Yet rather than play it to Luiz's left foot like he should have done, he went for his right. It gifted Son Heung-min a run on goal and Spurs were back in it.
"Arsenal had 76 per cent possession in the second half. They looked in control. But they were undone by a set-piece.
"Tierney, 5ft 10in, marked 6ft 2in Toby Alderweireld. The Tottenham defender won and that was that.
"There were positives for Arsenal. Dani Ceballos was promising in midfield, while keeper Emiliano Martinez was probably their best player. But Arteta needs to decide which way he wants his team to play — three or four at the back — and buy players who suit his preferred system.
"Harry Kane and Son posed problems. We saw Shkodran Mustafi diving in — maybe that's because he doesn't feel he's going to get cover from Luiz behind him.
"Choose your system, Arteta, and buy accordingly."
Arteta has revealed in the recent past that transfer plans are being drawn up at Emirates Stadium, with the hope being that more funds will be made available to a team with obvious room for improvement.