Patrice Evra’s Nicolas Pepe prediction backfires after latest Arsenal setback
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Patrice Evra backed Nicolas Pepe to "destroy" Leeds but it turned out to be a miserable afternoon for the struggling Arsenal winger.
Pepe has struggled to settle in north London since making his club-record £72million move from Lille at the beginning of last season.
And it seems Mikel Arteta is beginning to lose faith with the Ivory Coast star, who has played a bit-part role in the Gunners' campaign so far.
But he was given a chance to impress when the Gunners visited Elland Road to face Leeds in their Premier League clash on Sunday, with the winger handed a rare top-flight start.
Arsenal's Nicolas Pepe leaves the pitch after he is sent off
(Image: Pool via REUTERS)
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And speaking before the game, Evra told Sky Sports: "I have so much respect for the French league but you need a moment to adapt like myself.
"When I joined Manchester United I thought I was the best left-back in the world, after my first game I realised Premier League is a different game.
"You just need to understand that.
"But today should be a great game for him because Leeds like to play one vs one and he can destroy any player one vs one."
Anthony Taylor shows a red card to Nicolas Pepe
(Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
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But that prediction backfired as Pepe saw red for a needless reaction early in the second half.
An off-the-ball challenge between Pepe and Ezgjan Alioski led to the latter going down to the floor clutching his face. Replays showed Arsenal's record signing pushed his head towards Alioski.
Referee Anthony Taylor went to check the pitchside monitor and showed Pepe a straight red.
Earlier this month, Pepe lifted the lid on his "frustrating" situation at Arsenal, claiming he is not being given the game time he needs to shine.
"My goal is to play more. Have a little more playing time," Pepe told French outlet Canal Plus .
"A player who plays is happy. For me, I would like to play a little more to find a smile again.
"He [Arteta] wants me to be 100 per cent focused during the 90 minutes of the match. Afterwards, I see during training that I will be a substitute the following weekend.
"But the coach speaks to me, he also has assistants who are there for that. But it is frustrating for any player to be on the bench."