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Arteta: Pepe red card unacceptable

Goal.com logo Goal.com 22/11/2020 Peter Thompson
Mikel Arteta wearing a suit and tie: Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta © AFP via Getty Images Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta

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. 

Soccer Football - Premier League - Leeds United v Arsenal - Elland Road, Leeds, Britain - November 22, 2020 The big screen displays a VAR review message as Arsenal's Nicolas Pepe is shown a red card Pool via REUTERS/Paul Ellis EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications.  Please contact your account representative for further details. © Thomson Reuters Soccer Football - Premier League - Leeds United v Arsenal - Elland Road, Leeds, Britain - November 22, 2020 The big screen displays a VAR review message as Arsenal's Nicolas Pepe is shown a red card Pool via REUTERS/Paul Ellis EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

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


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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. 

Leeds United's Macedonian midfielder Ezgjan Alioski (L) reacts after clashing with Arsenal's French-born Ivorian midfielder Nicolas Pepe (R), after which Pepe is sent off by English referee Anthony Taylor (not pictured) during the English Premier League football match between Leeds United and Arsenal at Elland Road in Leeds, northern England on November 22, 2020. (Photo by MOLLY DARLINGTON / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /  (Photo by MOLLY DARLINGTON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) Leeds United's Macedonian midfielder Ezgjan Alioski (L) reacts after clashing with Arsenal's French-born Ivorian midfielder Nicolas Pepe (R), after which Pepe is sent off by English referee Anthony Taylor (not pictured) during the English Premier League football match between Leeds United and Arsenal at Elland Road in Leeds, northern England on November 22, 2020. (Photo by MOLLY DARLINGTON / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by MOLLY DARLINGTON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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. 

Soccer Football - Premier League - Leeds United v Arsenal - Elland Road, Leeds, Britain - November 22, 2020 Arsenal's Nicolas Pepe is shown a red card by referee Anthony Taylor Pool via REUTERS/Paul Ellis EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications.  Please contact your account representative for further details. © Thomson Reuters Soccer Football - Premier League - Leeds United v Arsenal - Elland Road, Leeds, Britain - November 22, 2020 Arsenal's Nicolas Pepe is shown a red card by referee Anthony Taylor Pool via REUTERS/Paul Ellis EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

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." 

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