Football legend Martin Keown has opened up about Arsenal’s January signing Pablo Mari after his superb display since joining the club.
The Brazilian is settling life at Emirates after signing with the north Londoners from Brazilian side Flamengo on a six-month loan deal.
The defender played a big role in Arsenal’s 2-0 victory over Portsmouth in the FA Cup fifth round, playing 90 minutes to help the Gunners achieve a clean sheet.
The Spaniard’s determination will be to push forward and prove his masterclass to convince Mikel Arteta he is worthy of making a permanent switch.
And Arsenal legend Keown confesses his admiration for the 26-year-old after a fine show on Monday in the FA Cup, and wants Arteta to give him more playtime.
“He didn’t have a lot to do apart from his distribution. But he won everything when necessary.
“You could see that he was a little bit short of fitness and that they are building him up. He looks to have the basis of a good player there.
“There were important first steps on Monday night, even though he wasn’t tested that much because in the second half Arsenal completely dominated possession – it was a bit of a football lesson for Portsmouth.
“I think he looked very solid, he has the height in inches. You look at the stature of the player and he won everything in the air.
“He wasn’t rapid, but was quick enough to deal with all the situations. We were playing against a League One side who had a lone striker so he and David Luiz were able to boss him between the two of them.
“I think it was important that he had Luiz alongside him to talk him through the game. Now we have to give him time, he has to be given more opportunities.”
Arsenal are currently placed 10th on the log, eight points adrift of the top four with their only hope to secure Champions League spot next season depends on Premier League results.