EPL

Arteta: Pepe red card unacceptable

By Sports Desk November 22, 2020

Mikel Arteta said there was no excuse for Nicolas Pepe's "unacceptable" red card and admitted Arsenal's lack of goals is a "concern" after they clung on for a 0-0 draw at Leeds United. 

Winger Pepe was given his marching orders early in the second half at Elland Road on Sunday for headbutting Ezgjan Alioski off the ball. 

Pepe's dismissal was the fifth red Arsenal have been shown in the Premier League since Arteta took charge in December 2019, at least two more than any other club. 

Leeds struck the woodwork three times and Bernd Leno produced a string of superb saves as the Gunners held on for a point which leaves them 11th in the table. 

Arteta was not impressed with Pepe, whose contact with Alioski saw him sent off once referee Anthony Taylor reviewed footage. 

He told BBC Sport: "It is unacceptable. Unacceptable. At this level you cannot do it."

Arsenal have scored just one goal in their last five Premier League games and that was a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang penalty in the win at Manchester United. 

The north London club have found the back of the net just nine times in the top flight this season, which is their lowest tally after nine games of a league campaign since 1986. 

Arteta, who started captain Aubameyang in a central role, knows they must offer more in the final third if they are to move up. 

When asked about the lack of goals, the Spaniard replied: "It is a concern. You need goals to win matches. We need to create opportunities." 

Pepe hit the crossbar with a cross but Arsenal registered just two shots on target, while Bukayo Saka was denied by Illan Meslier when he went clear late on. 

Arteta said: "There were two parts in the first half where we were superior and dominant and created opportunities. 

"The last 15-20 minutes we gave balls away in different positions and gave them space to attack. We were lucky not to go 1-0 down. The second half, playing this side with 10 men, is complicated." 

Related items

  • Myles Garrett still on COVID list, will miss Browns-Jaguars Myles Garrett still on COVID list, will miss Browns-Jaguars

    Myles Garrett will not return for the Cleveland Browns this week as he remains on the reserve/COVID-19 list, coach Kevin Stefanski has confirmed.

    Star defensive end Garrett was placed on the list last week and missed the Browns' 22-17 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

    Cleveland improved to 7-3 in second place in the AFC North but will again have to cope without Garrett against the struggling Jacksonville Jaguars.

    "We're ruling him out because that's what the protocol calls for," Stefanski said of the first overall 2017 draft pick.

    Garrett holds the joint-lead for sacks in the NFL this year, his tally of 9.5 matched by the New Orleans Saints' Trey Hendrickson on Sunday.

    The one-time Pro Bowler has also forced four fumbles in 2020, tied with the Baltimore Ravens' Marlon Humphrey for what is already a career-best in that regard.

    Garrett missed the opportunity to improve his numbers against the Eagles, whose struggling quarterback Carson Wentz has now taken 40 sacks and 10 fumbles - both dismal league highs.

  • Borussia Dortmund midfielder Reinier tests positive for coronavirus Borussia Dortmund midfielder Reinier tests positive for coronavirus

    Borussia Dortmund midfielder Reinier has tested positive for coronavirus, the German club have announced.

    The 18-year-old, who joined Dortmund on a two-year loan deal from Real Madrid in August, underwent PCR tests for COVID-19 upon his return from international duty with Brazil Under-23s last week.

    Reinier was not part of Dortmund's squad for their Bundesliga win over Hertha Berlin at the weekend and no other BVB players have tested positive.

    Dortmund confirmed the news on Monday, a day before their Champions League match with Club Brugge, and added that the teenager is asymptomatic and is now self-isolating.

    He has been used seven times by Lucien Favre, each of those appearances coming from the bench.

    Reinier, who won the Campeonato Brasileiro and Copa Libertadores with Flamengo in 2019, has yet to score, assist or create a chance in his three Bundesliga outings and has managed just one shot.

    Tuesday's meeting with Brugge is the first of three home games in a row for Dortmund, with Koln and Lazio to come in the next nine days.

  • Neymar and Mbappe need to step up against Leipzig - Tuchel Neymar and Mbappe need to step up against Leipzig - Tuchel

    Thomas Tuchel says Paris Saint-Germain need Neymar and Kylian Mbappe to be on top of their game if they are to beat RB Leipzig in Tuesday's huge Champions League clash.

    Last season's finalists trail Group H pacesetters Manchester United and Leipzig by three points at the midway stage after losing to both teams in their opening three matches, either side of beating Istanbul Basaksehir.

    PSG will be facing the prospect of making an early exit from the competition if they lose at home to the Bundesliga club and under-fire head coach Tuchel is willing to risk the fitness of Neymar for a match he has described as a "final".

    Neymar missed three PSG games with a groin injury and was released from Brazil duty before being given 30 minutes from the bench in Friday's 3-2 loss to Monaco - a result that increased the pressure on Tuchel.

    The forward, who has two goals in seven appearances this term, will start against Leipzig at the Parc des Princes in a repeat of last season's semi-final.

    "We need him. He needs to be on the pitch for us," Tuchel said at a news conference on Monday. "He has the quality and the experience.

    "He is not in the best shape physically but he will start tomorrow. He can manage that both physically and mentally, though I hope we don't depend on him."

    Mbappe scored PSG's two goals in their defeat to Monaco but is without a Champions League goal in 2020, failing to score in 529 minutes across seven appearances in the competition since netting against Galatasaray last December.

    "If Neymar or Kylian don't score, of course it has an impact for us," Tuchel said. "I hope they score tomorrow. We need Kylian's goals. He is doing everything possible to be decisive.

    "He played with the France team. Against Monaco, he scored two goals. Now is the time for him, as well as for Ney, to be decisive again."

    Tuchel started with Neymar, Mbappe, Angel Di Maria and Moise Kean for the win over Basaksehir and has hinted he may go with a similar attack-minded system against Leipzig.

    "It is of course a possibility," he said. "We want to win - it's a final in the group. I absolutely want us to have more courage to score than fear to have problems defensively. 

    "It will take courage to score, so it's a possibility. We must find two players in the middle capable of making the effort if we play with a 4-4-2. 

    "But it is also possible that we play in 4-3-3. We used it in Leipzig as well as in the knockout stages last season. There are two possibilities, we will wait to see who is available."

    However, Tuchel will have to make do without Mauro Icardi, Julian Draxler, Idrissa Gueye, Juan Bernat and Thilo Kehrer, while Ander Herrera and Marco Verratti will be assessed later on Monday.

    PSG have lost four of their last six games against German opponents in the Champions League, including each of the last two - 1-0 v Bayern Munich and 2-1 v Leipzig.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.