Wednesday 22 November 2017

'Impressed' Roy Keane changes tune on Arsenal following Barcelona defeat

Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Roy Keane has rarely been complimentary when the subject of Arsenal has been on the agenda, but he changed that tune as he assessed their performance against Barcelona on Tuesday night.

Keane lived through many a bruising encounter with Arsenal during his days as Manchester United’s midfield leader and he has often suggested that the Gunners have had a soft centre under manager Arsene Wenger in recent years.

Yet he was impressed by the Gunners’ efforts as they lost 2-0 to Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday night, as these comments to ITV Sport confirmed.

“It should be in Arsenal’s DNA to win football matches and they got punished by some of the greatest players were are ever going to see,” was Keane’s reflection on Barcelona’s latest win at Emirates Stadium.

“I have been critical of Arsenal over the years, but I thought they did a lot of really good things in the game. I was impressed with them.

“Arsenal are not a small little club and you would expect them to be on the front foot and have a good go. They were up against a brilliant team.

“If they had scored the first goal, things could have been different, but I wouldn’t be too critical of them.”

Keane’s comments confirmed that he does offer up praise when he feels it is due and they were very different to his sentiments he served up at the start of Arsenal’s Champions League campaign this season, after they had lost 3-2 to Olympiacos on home soil.

“Listen, they’re soft, Arsenal are soft,” stated Keane last September. “They’re weak. The goals they give away, you’ve got no chance of winning any big game if you defend like that.

“I think there’s certainly a weakness to the group, they look like they lack characters, leaders and winners.

“I enjoy watching Arsenal, I think they’re great to watch, particularly going forward. But part of football is, unfortunately, is defending. And mentally, they’re weak.”

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