Nicolas Pepe sees red, as Arsenal nip a point against Leeds in a thrilling draw

Mikel Arteta’s 10 man Arsenal were lucky to snatch a draw at Elland road as Nicolas Pepe was shown a direct red card for his headbutt on Alioski. The hosts had much of the better chances throughout the game, but couldn’t capitalise on them as the woodwork rescued Arsenal thrice!. Arteta made a string of changes to the team that lost against Aston Villa by naming Willock, Pepe, Xhaka and Ceballos in the starting lineup. Leeds on the other hand welcomed back Philips. The hosts had early control of the game and Bamford produced a brilliant save from Leno. Arsenal on the other hand clipped Leeds crossbar through Pepe as the first half ended on level terms.

The second half got off to an explosive start as the £72m signing Nicolas Pepe was sent off for head-butting Alioski. Arsenal’s midfield woes started to worsen as Leeds continued to dominate possession as Leno was called into action to deny Dallas and Rodrigo. The final 10 minutes saw Leeds denied thrice by woodwork through Rodrigo, Bamford and Raphinha. Meslier, who pretty much had a quiet game was at his best to deny Saka in a one-on-one situation as the Arsenal forward tried to take it around the goalkeeper.

The draw sees Arsenal score the lowest number of goals after nine games in a Premier League season since 1986-87. Arteta’s decision to play Aubameyang through the middle didn’t pay off as the plan was thrown out off the window after Pepe’s dismissal. Pepe, who was asked to be more consistent with his performances by his manager did little to help his cause, as the Ivory Coast international will now miss games against Wolves, Tottenham and Burnley.

Speaking too Sky Sports the Arsenal manager said “I never like a draw but in the circumstances it’s a point. The red card is unacceptable. With 10 men it is a big disadvantage. I really liked the personality of the team when Pepe let the team down, how we stuck to do what we had to do and had a moment or two to win the game, but obviously it makes it really difficult.

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