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Mikel Arteta reaches same Arsenal conclusion Roy Keane did over a year ago


Mikel Arteta appears to have reached the same conclusion over Nicolas Pepe as Roy Keane before the season had started.

It comes after another match in the Premier League where Arsenal’s record signing was ignored on the bench.

The Gunners bounced back on Sunday after three matches without a win when they beat Leeds United 4-2.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netted a hat-trick with the striker flanked by Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe.

That now appears to be Arteta’s preferred frontline, with Willian as back-up.

It leaves Pepe largely marginalised after a poor match against Aston Villa, which the Gunners lost 1-0.



Nicolas Pepe has struggled at Arsenal since his £72m move

Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane has been one of the Ivorian’s biggest critics and slammed his impact over a year ago.

“Disappointed really with him, since he’s come to the club he’s not had great body language,” said Keane on Sky Sports.

“We make excuses for players a lot, it takes time to settle into a club.

“But you see this young kid tonight [Saka], Pepe compared to him for the money they paid he needs to do a lot more.

“His work rate, his lack of quality, end product, but again it’s his body language. He didn’t put up a fight tonight.”



Pepe was left on the bench against Leeds United

It comes after Saka put on a masterful display, being involved in every Arsenal attack and causing havoc in the Leeds defence.

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He won two penalties, though one was overturned by VAR and is one of Arteta’s first names on the teamsheet.

It is a remarkable output from the winger, who is still just 19, while missing just one match in the Premier League since October and that was through injury.

Meanwhile, Arteta was over the moon with his side’s attacking impact after going four goals up against Marcelo Bielsa’s men.

He said: ‘It was great and the amount of chances we created and the type of goals that we scored as well, I am really pleased with that.

“The attacking patterns that we had today, the confidence that the team played with against a team that are constantly pressing you to be comfortable to get out of these situations.

“Overall a lot of positives from today.”





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