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Arsenal star Nicolas Pepe produced another shocker vs Southampton

After winning the FA Cup in his first season in charge of Arsenal, Mikel Arteta would no doubt have been intent on trying to retain the trophy this year.

The Gunners had to grind out a victory over Newcastle in the FA Cup third round, and were rewarded with a hugely tricky away tie against Southampton.

And in keeping with how this season has gone for the Premier League giants, the north Londoners looked completely toothless, as they were knocked out of the FA Cup with a 2-0 defeat to the Saints.

Nicolas Pepe was given the chance to impress by Arteta at St Mary’s, and whilst the Ivory Coast international showed touches of briliance – not least his cute through for Eddie Nketiah – he was once again largely disappointing.

Will Pepe be a success at Arsenal?

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Yes!

No!

No!

None of his two attempts on goal found the target, including particularly awful strike from a free-kick late on in the game. He also failed to provide a single accurate cross despite getting in promising positions, and that left the likes of Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Martinelli to feed off scraps.

Countless times Pepe had the chance to run at Southampton left-back Ryan Bertrand, but instead either let a loose first touch get away from him, or didn’t have the convince to really take him on one-on-one.

One moment in the second-half saw Hector Bellerin play a line pass in behind the Saints defence, only for Pepe to get his feet tangled up and see Ibrahima Diallo recover and nick it back off him. In total, he lost possession 16 times, with only two Arsenal players losing it more, and Football.London simply said that he “fell over a lot” in their post-match ratings.

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Mikel Arteta shouting

Arsenal secured their first win under Mikel Arteta against Manchester United. Can you name the two goal-scorers on the night?

It led to The Telegraph journalist Sam Dean to describe both him and summer signing Willian as an “increasingly pressing problem”. Given how Bukayo Saka has played for the Gunners out on the right-hand side, Pepe’s chances of first-team starts look set to be thin on the ground.

Dean’s assessment was followed up by a number of Arsenal fans on Twitter calling on the £100k-a-week earning Pepe to just be sold by the Gunners.

And Saturday afternoon’s display against Southampton would have just confirmed to Arteta that trusting in his youth is the best way to go forward. The Arsenal boss must make the ruthless decision and axe Pepe from his starting line-up for the return clash against Southampton in the Premier League in mid-week.

Meanwhile, this Arsenal star badly let Mikel Arteta down versus Southampton…

Article title: Arsenal star Nicolas Pepe produced another shocker vs Southampton

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