Arteta condemns Pepe’s “unacceptable” actions; admits Arsenal got ‘lucky’

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Mikel Arteta admitted Nicolas Pepe’s actions were “unacceptable” after the striker was sent off in Arsenal’s draw with Leeds.

Both teams entered the game to bounce back from the losses before the international break. However, they had to settle for one point each, as they played a goalless draw.

Leeds had more chances but neither side was able to take advantage of them. Therefore, the biggest talking point was Pepe’s red card, after hitting Ezgjan Alioski.

The incident took place early in the second half and Arteta admitted it changed their plans for the game.

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He said Sky Sports: “Considering the date we sent Pepe, we have to accept him.

“I never like a draw but under the circumstances it’s a point. It is unacceptable.

“The first half, there were two different periods. The game broke a bit, we started to give the ball away and we gave them space to break.

“In the second half, it was all about defending well, staying patient and using the pace of our players in the space they were leaving.

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Arteta happy with Arsenal personality

Arteta went on to praise the players who stayed on the pitch for the way they responded to Pepe’s dismissal – although it was always going to be tough with 10 men.

He added: “With 10 men that’s a big disadvantage. I really liked the personality of the team when Pepe let the team down, the way we stuck to doing what we had to do and had a moment or two to win the game, but obviously that makes it really difficult.

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Arsenal could have hit him late, however, as Bukayo Saka had a great chance after being set up by Hector Bellerin. Trying to get around Illan Meslier, however, the Leeds keeper managed to hit.

Arteta said it was the biggest chance but admitted Leeds have more chances to score.

He said: “It was the best chance of the game, I thought the goalkeeper did well. The reality is that they threatened our box a lot and we were lucky on some occasions.

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