Arsenal players ‘mentally clocked out’ after Pepe call

Some Arsenal players are unhappy with the way Mikel Arteta criticised Nicolas Pepe following his sending off against Leeds United, according to reports, as the crisis at the Emirates Stadium deepens.

With his side anchored in the bottom half of the table and without a league win since November 1, Arteta needed a response against a struggling Burnley but, with Granit Xhaka sent off and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring an own goal, the 1-0 loss leaves the Gunners languishing in 15th place.

This is the first time in over 60 years that Arsenal have lost four home league games in a row and the result saw Sean Dyche’s men end a six-match losing streak at the Emirates.

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The pressure is now well and truly on Arteta with the recent FA Cup and Community Shield triumphs now a distant memory.

Two weeks ago, Pepe headbutted Leeds defender Ezgjan Alioski in an off-the-ball incident and was given a straight red card after referee Anthony Taylor viewed the altercation on a pitchside monitor.

After the incident, Arteta criticised Pepe over his “unnacceptable” behaviour and said that the Ivorian had “let the team down”.

And Football.London claims that ‘some of the first-team squad were unhappy about the way he called him out on TV’.

The report adds that some players have ‘mentally clocked out’ and that ‘the omission of Mesut Ozil and Sokratis’ is also causing dressing room unrest.

Football.London has said that ‘the fall-out effect of leaving two influential figures in the dressing room has been felt’ with the situation ‘a slow chasm which has indeed affected the mood of the squad and left an unsettling atmosphere around London Colney’.


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