Willian has struggled for form in recent weeks and has registered just one assist in his last 12 appearances for the Gunners.
Keown has been impressed with the impact Nelson has made in Arteta’s side this season.
And the former Arsenal defender believes the 20-year-old’s performances could provide a wake-up call for Willian.
‘I like Nelson, I like his energy,’ Keown told BT Sport.
‘You look at Willian… Willian’s a better player but he’s not playing with the same enthusiasm at the moment.
‘Something’s not right with Willian, so he puts Nelson in ahead of him and I think that’s right. That might get the best out of Willian in the future.
‘Once you see a player like that get up to top speed… that’s the challenge from Arteta, to get the best out of Willian.’