Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has explained why assistant coach Albert Stuivenburg got frustrated at Nicolas Pepe following Sunday’s Premier League win against Leeds United.
Mikel Arteta has explained why assistant coach Albert Stuivenburg got frustrated at Nicolas Pepe following Arsenal’s Premier League clash against Leeds United.
The Gunners secured a crucial 2-1 victory at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon thanks to a first-half brace from Hale End academy graduate Eddie Nketiah. However, it was a tense finish in north London, with Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier deciding to come up for a couple of set-pieces as the away side looked to salvage an unlikely point following Luke Ayling’s red card
Arsenal’s club-record signing Pepe came on for Bukayo Saka in the second half and the Ivory Coast international got the ball on the halfway line, a huge chance to take a long-range shot at the empty Leeds’ goal – or even just run down the line and waste some time. However, he opted to cut back onto his favoured left foot and was dispossessed in the process, frustrating assistant coach Stuivenburg in the process.
The Dutchman gave Pepe an animated dressing down on the pitch after the full-time whistle and Arteta has admitted that he was left bemused by the talented winger’s decision. “When you see that he’s got an empty net in front of him and he’s taking a touch backwards, we cannot really understand”, the Spaniard said.
“But you have to have the perception of the player in that moment, they are the ones that make the decision. And fortunately, we didn’t need that goal.”
The result leaves the Gunners four points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, who they will play on Thursday in one of the most highly-anticipated north London derbies in recent years.
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