‘I can’t trust him!’ Arsenal legend Martin Keown slams Matt Turner after Europa League error against Sporting
The American international and understudy to first-choice no1 Aaron Ramsdale was selected to start Thursday night’s last-16 first-leg tie at the Estadio Jose Alvalade as manager Mikel Arteta made six changes to his team amid a fierce Premier League title battle and key London derby with high-flying Fulham approaching this weekend.
And while a hard-fought 2-2 draw still leaves Arsenal in a good position to qualify for the quarter-finals as they host the return fixture at Emirates Stadium next week, it was still a notably off-colour display at times from the top-flight leaders.
That was summed up by regular ‘cup goalkeeper’ Turner, who hardly covered himself in glory during only his seventh appearance of the season in the Portuguese capital.
The 28-year-old, a summer signing from MLS side New England Revolution, struggled to play out from the back or secure the ball confidently in the same fashion as Ramsdale, while he was blamed for Sporting’s equaliser to make it 1-1 just before half-time after appearing to try and come to collect a corner before hesitating and watching as Goncalo Inacio headed home to cancel out William Saliba’s opener.
Sporting struggle: Matt Turner did not impress for Arsenal in their Europa League tie in Lisbon
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An initially good save early in the second half then fell straight for Paulinho to give the Primeira Liga giants a shock lead that was swiftly answered by a Hidemasa Morita own goal.
“Really he’s killed everyone, because he’s started to come and then doesn’t,” former Gunners stalwart Keown said when analysing Turner and Sporting’s first goal on BT Sport.
“But [Jakub] Kiwior, too, he’s got to do a little bit more than that. What I’ll be saying though if I’m playing regularly with this ‘keeper is I’m going to have to go and head things.
“I can’t really trust him. There he has to come and win it and be dominant and he didn’t do it.”
Keown’s withering assessment was echoed by former England goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis on BT, who said Turner – who has yet to make a Premier League appearance for Arsenal – “doesn’t command his area” or “install any confidence in his backline” as she criticised his lack of communication on the first Sporting goal.