Nicolas Pepe slammed for his ‘idiotic’ behaviour by Gary Lineker and Ian Wright after seeing red for headbutt on Ezgjan Alioski during Arsenal’s draw with Leeds as Twitter reacts to Ivorian’s moment of madness
- Nicolas Pepe headbutted Ezgjan Alioski early in the second half at Elland Road
- Pepe will now miss three games including the north London derby next month
- The Gunners held on despite being down to 10 men as Leeds could not score
Nicolas Pepe’s Arsenal career is yet to take off after his £71million move from Lille in the summer of 2019 and he will need to wait a bit longer before trying to impress after receiving a straight red card for headbutting Leeds United‘s Ezgjan Alioski.
Things boiled after 50 minutes at Elland Road on Sunday when the pair exchanged pushes before Pepe made the decisive contact, with Alioski quickly falling to ground as Reiss Nelson made his way infield with the ball.
Referee Anthony Taylor stopped play as the North Macedonian stayed down clutching his face and, after reviewing the footage on the pitch-side monitor, brandished the red card to send Pepe for an early bath.
Nicolas Pepe and Ezgjan Alioski pushed each other before the Ivorian completely lost his head
Arsenal have had five players sent off in the Premier League since Mikel Arteta took charge
Predictably, fans were quick to have their say as an avalanche of reaction followed, with ‘Ffs Pepe’ trending on Twitter.
Match of the Day host Gary Lineker also took aim at the winger, tweeting: ‘What an idiotic thing to do by Pepe’.
Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright was also left wondering what had caused Pepe to do such a thing.
He simply tweeted a GIF of a somebody bashing their head in bemusement.
Arsenal fans were also understandably furious with their player after he threatened to derail what had been a solid defensive display.
@gunnerblog wrote: ‘I can’t really muster any sympathy for players who get sent off for what Pepe did.
‘They absolutely know the consequences. It’s not a grey area, and it never has been – you do that, you walk.’
Meanwhile, Piers Morgan tweeted his fury. He wrote: ‘Idiotic behaviour by Pepe, that will probably cost us the game given we were being out-played anyway. Infuriating.’
Fortunately for Arsenal fans despite being a man down for nearly half the match, Mikel Arteta’s men were resolute in defence and held out for a 0-0 draw to move 11th, while Leeds go 14th.
Other Gunners tried to see the funny side despite the exasperating situation with one supporter hoping the incident will lead to a Pepe resurgence.
@EduardoHagn tweeted: ‘Hopefully that headbutt turns Pepe into (Zinedine) Zidane when he comes back because we desperately need that’.
Pepe will now miss the north London derby, along with home matches against Wolves and Burnley either side of that pivotal fixture.
Arsenal could progress to the Europa League knockout stages on Thursday if they avoid defeat in Norway against Molde, while Leeds’ next assignment is a tough trip to Everton on Saturday.