90min

Mikel Arteta Slams Nicolas Pepe for 'Unacceptable' Red Card in Leeds Draw

James Merrills
Nicolas Pepe receives his marching orders from referee Anthony Taylor.
Nicolas Pepe receives his marching orders from referee Anthony Taylor. / Pool/Getty Images
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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta branded Nicolas Pepe's behaviour 'unacceptable' after his side's 0-0 draw with Leeds United at Elland Road on Sunday evening.

The Gunners were forced to play most of the second half with ten men after Pepe pushed his head into Ezgjan Alioski's face, prompting the Leeds midfielder to drop to the floor. Anthony Taylor was advised to see it for himself on the pitchside monitor and subsequently dismissed Pepe in the 52nd minute.

Leeds had the better of the chances in the first half and any hopes of a second-half revival were soon dashed when VAR was called upon and the red mist descended on the Gunners.

Arteta made clear his anger at Pepe's ill discipline in his post-match interview with Sky Sports, as quoted by The Mirror.

"I never like a draw but in the circumstances it's a point. It [the red card] is unacceptable.

"With ten men it is a big disadvantage. I really liked the personality of the team when Pepe let the team down, how we stuck to do what we had to do and had a moment or two to win the game, but obviously it makes it really difficult."

Arteta clearly sees the positives from the team performance but places the blame for the missed opportunity firmly at Pepe's feet. Positives can be taken for sure and Arsenal managed to navigate their way through the remainder of the match without conceding despite Leeds hitting the woodwork three times.

Kieran Tierney made his frustrations known at the final whistle and confronted Alioski.
Kieran Tierney made his frustrations known at the final whistle and confronted Alioski. / Michael Regan/Getty Images

The Ivorian will now serve a three-match ban and sit out the clashes with Wolves and Burnley, as well as the north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur. Even when he does return he will likely face a battle to get back into his manager's plans.

Arteta has been troubled by a number of disciplinary issues recently. He shipped Matteo Guendouzi out on loan due to his bad attitude and was forced to deal with a training ground bust-up between David Luiz and Dani Ceballos earlier this week.

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