ARSENAL legend Martin Keown hailed Declan Rice, William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes for their performances in the 2-1 win over Sevilla in the Champions League.

Mikel Arteta‘s men edged past the LaLiga side 2-1 thanks to goals from Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus.

Martin Keown praised his former club for their European display


Martin Keown praised his former club for their European displayCredit: Getty
Arsenal defenders Gabriel and William Saliba impressed Keown against Sevilla


Arsenal defenders Gabriel and William Saliba impressed Keown against SevillaCredit: Reuters

But it was the defence and midfield which Keown was most impressed by on Tuesday evening.

And he singled out the two centre-backs – Saliba and Gabriel – as standout performers, along with holding midfielder Rice.

Speaking on TNT Sports, he said: “I think the important thing is Arsenal have now got two home games [in the group stage] and if they can get four points minimum from that then I think they’ll be pretty well safe [to qualify for the knockouts].

“So it’s about Sevilla now at home next time round and then Lens as well. But it’s in their hands now Arsenal, it’s a really important win tonight.

“I thought they showed really good ingredients. Declan Rice, who we haven’t yet mentioned, was magnificent at times. You almost could do with two of him on the pitch, he’s incredible.

“That resolve that they showed, the two central defenders they earned their wages too, because they had to put everything on the line, throwing their bodies in the way of things.

“So very satisfying and I think the team now will grow in confidence after that win.”

Keown then heaped more praise on Rice for his impressive display.

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Declan Rice was superb on Tuesday evening


Declan Rice was superb on Tuesday eveningCredit: Getty

He added: “Really dogged defending [at the end], and he’d already put a lot of mileage into the game [Rice].

“I think he’s had more carries in the Champions League than any other player bar Rodri.

“And maybe that’s the role, the Rodri role. But maybe he’s more mobile even than Rodri to do it. We have to respect what Rodri is doing but…

“I just feel there’s a maturity there, a character, that’s coming into his game. And I actually feel he’s a better player than I ever really believed he was.

“I’m now seeing it. I’m a real fan of what he’s offering. And when you have to dig in in games, he’s the first one with his hand in the air.”

Arsenal have six points from their opening three Champions League matches and sit top of Group B.

Next up for the Gunners is a home game against Sheffield United in the Premier League on Saturday.

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