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Arteta issues strong response after being upset by statement on Pepe


Mikel Arteta has dismissed any notion that Nicolas Pepe has thrown his Arsenal career away.

It comes after the Ivorian was sent off against Leeds United at the weekend for headbutting Ezgjan Alioski.

The Gunners coach handed Pepe a rare start in the Premier League after his complaints over a lack of chances.

But he will be missing from action in the league for three matches and there was a suggestion that Arteta could impose a longer ban.

Other players have felt the wrath for poor discipline, including Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi.

However, with Arsenal set to take on Molde in the Europa League, Pepe looks set to be given an immediate chance to redeem himself.

Nicolas Pepe was sent off by Anthony Taylor at the weekend

And Arteta has shut down any talk of the forward’s career being over, insisting it is in his hands.

“Absolutely not, it’s not about that and I don’t like that type of statement,” he said.

“I will give Nico my full support all the time. He knows the things he has to improve but again we all know his qualities.

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“He has some responsibility, and I have a lot of responsibility, to get the best out of him. I cannot fault his effort at all.

“There are certain aspects he can do better because he has the ability.

“But to say there is a threat to finish his career here, it’s not at all like that.

Pepe’s Arsenal career is not finished, says Arteta

“With his ability I am going to be very demanding because I know what he can do and he needs to deal with that.

“It’s in his hands, honestly. I know what he can give us and it’s completely down to him.”

Bukayo Saka and Willian have stayed in London after suffering injuries against Leeds while Folarin Balogun could be given a chance against Molde.

The 19-year-old has been touted for a big future but looked set to leave in the summer only to end up staying.

“He is a player that I want, a player I want to stay at the club,” Arteta said. “Myself and the club are working to extend his contract, to try to convince him this is the right place.”

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