Martin Keown insists Arsenal goalscorer Kieran Tierney is ‘exactly the player you want’ in your team as Scottish left-back inspires comeback against Benfica
- Arsenal reached the Europa League last-16 with a dramatic 3-2 win over Benfica
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice in the comeback win on Thursday
- Martin Keown highlighted Kieran Tierney’s equaliser as the key turning point
- Keown praised Tierney’s attitude while also commended winger Bukayo Saka
Martin Keown claims Kieran Tierney is exactly the type of player Arsenal need after the left-back inspired a dramatic 3-2 Arsenal comeback over Benfica on Thursday.
The Scottish international started the fightback when the Gunners were 2-1 down on the night and 3-2 down on aggregate but Tierney fired home from the edge of the area to give the north Londoners hope of progressing to the last-16 stage.
Tierney then ushered his Arsenal team-mates back to find a winner – which they did through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s header just minutes from time.
Kieran Tierney’s (middle) attitude was vital in Arsenal beating Benfica, says Martin Keown
Keown highlighted Tierney’s goal – Arsenal’s second of the night – as the vital turning point
Former Arsenal defender Keown claims Tierney’s attitude after scoring his goal is the temperament Mikel Arteta’s side needs as they try to salvage something from this season.
Keown told BT Sport: ‘It is the symbolism you want. That’s the player you want, someone who is in charge of your own destiny and he proved it there.
‘But he has to keep doing that, we have to keep him fit and have to keep this momentum going.’
Tierney sparked an Arsenal comeback by scoring when Arsenal were trailing 2-1 to Benfica
Tierney (right) ushered his side to head back to their half quickly to search for a winning goal
Arsenal took the lead on the night through Aubameyang’s flick from Bukayo Saka’s pass but Diogo Goncalves’ free-kick just before half-time levelled the tie on aggregate.
Dani Ceballos’ poor backpass allowed Rafa Silva to round Bernd Leno and put Benfica in front but Tierney’s goal from substitute Willian’s pass brought them level.
Aubameyang then headed home Saka’s late cross to spark jubilation among the Arsenal players as they looked to secure European qualification for next season by winning the Europa League.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang headed in a winner for Arsenal with just minutes of the tie left
Keown claims Tierney’s goal was the pivotal turning point for Arsenal on Thursday night but also praised Willian’s involvement in setting up the goal.
Speaking about Willian’s pass, Keown added: ‘We can call it an assist for Tierney but Tierney did everything after that. That is the player who you want to breed, the players you can look at.
‘We had two of them tonight, or three. Aubameyang and Saka but Tierney started it with that goal.’
Keown also praised the work of Bukayo Saka (above) who set up both of Aubameyang’s goals
Keown also highlighted the work of Saka on Thursday night whose two assists were the difference for the Arsenal in their Benfica tie in Athens.
The ex-Arsenal man claimed: ‘This young man, I wasn’t happy to see Smith Rowe go off but at least Saka was on. He asked questions, this is what I want from Willian.
‘Running with the ball and testing yourself, don’t take it back and pass it to someone else. Saka won’t wait for anyone and that’s why he’s creating all these assists. I want him to keep hitting new targets.’