Pepe: Arsenal have to wake up

Date published: Monday 16th December 2019 7:18

Nicolas Pepe says a top four finish remains the target for Arsenal despite a run of one win in 12 and uncertainty over their next manager.

Nicolas Pepe says a top four finish remains the target for Arsenal despite a run of one win in 12 games and uncertainty over the identity of their next manager.

The Gunners slumped to a 3-0 home defeat to reigning Premier League champions Manchester City on Sunday as Kevin De Bruyne’s first-half masterclass tore them to shreds.

The Belgium international struck twice, either side of teeing up Raheem Sterling for the second, as Pep Guardiola’s side eased to victory in north London.

While the result sees City move to within four points of second-placed Leicester, Arsenal are now as close to the relegation zone as they are to the top four.

Ljungberg replaced Unai Emery following his sacking last month but has won just one of his four league games at the helm as a poor run of form continues.

The dugout uncertainty remains for now, with Arsenal not commenting on images of managing director Vinai Venkatesham at the house of City assistant Mikel Arteta, who is now the red hot favourite for the job.

According to reports, the two clubs are in talks over the availability of the Spaniard, who spent five years as a player at Arsenal, including a spell as captain.

City also declined to comment on Arteta’s future, but Guardiola said after Sunday’s game: “What will happen I don’t know.”

Pepe, who was passed fit to face City following a knee injury, believes, while the situation continues, the blame lays purely at the door of the squad.

 

“Us players have to do better quickly,” the club-record signing said. “We have won only one game out of the last 12. It is not enough, we are Arsenal.

“It is about us, not the coach or anything else. We have to wake up quickly, starting against Everton.

“Freddie tries hard, he talks to us, but nothing has changed much in terms of results. It’s down to us the players, not the coach.

“Freddie is close to us because he used to be a player not long ago. He knows what we feel so it’s easier for us to talk with him. We will continue to work hard to make things better and win again.”

Pepe also said the uncertainty over the full-time successor to Emery is not having an adverse effect on the team and still feels finishing in the top four is a possibility.

“We are not disturbed by the managerial situation,” he added. “I had a similar situation in Lille and we kept going. With hard work, it will get better with Freddie or someone else.

“We have big games coming up. We need to keep working so we can get this fourth place.

“We understand the fans. After conceding three goals, they are not happy. They are Arsenal fans, they are used to winning. We need to give them the taste of victory again.”

 

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