Mikel Arteta speaks out on Nicolas Pepe’s wasteful performance in Olympiacos defeat

Nicolas Pepe endured a frustrating evening against Olympiacos
Nicolas Pepe endured a frustrating evening against Olympiacos (Picture: Getty)

Mikel Arteta warned his wasteful forwards they need to rediscover their ruthless streak or they will face more demoralising defeats, akin to the one they suffered against Olympiacos last night.

Arsenal were in the driving seat after a 1-0 win in Greece a week ago, but crashed out of the Europa League at the last 32 stage following Youssef El Arabi’s dramatic extra time winner.

The visitors had earlier levelled the tie through Pape Abou Cisse’s header but looked to be heading out when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s acrobatic effort restored Arsenal’s advantage with just seven minutes remaining.

Arteta, however, insisted the tie should have been put to bed long before with Nicolas Pepe particularly guilty of over-elaborating and wasting several presentable opportunities to score or set-up one of his teammates.

Alexandre Lacazette, who earlier this month ended a nine-game drought, also endured a difficult evening, while even the usually deadly Aubameyang missed a sitter moments after El Arabi’s decisive away goal.

Alexandre Lacazette wasted several clear cut opportunities against Olympiacos
Alexandre Lacazette wasted several clear cut opportunities against Olympiacos (Picture: Getty)

‘Yeah, that’s what I’m saying, I think we have enough goal threat in this team but we have to put our chances to bed,’ said Arteta when asked specifically about Pepe’s performance in his post match press conference.

‘In Europe it’s both boxes, in opponent’s box we missed chances that should have been goals.

‘In our box the few things they had they put them in and the set pieces we were vulnerable again. So it’s things to improve.’

Aubameyang, meanwhile, was left disconsolate at the final whistle and struggled to explain how he had squandered the chance that had offered his side a get out of jail free card with virtually the last kick of the match.

He said: ‘Yeah… I don’t even know, I feel very, very bad, yeah that can happen, I don’t know how I missed this chance, I was tired, I had some cramps.

‘But its not an excuse, I have to score this goal, but that can happen.’

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