‘I can’t wait for Sunday!’ – Leeds United star Ezgjan Alioski reignites grudge match with Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe

Leeds United star Ezgjan Alioski reignites grudge match with Arsenal's Nicolas Pepe
The Macedonian wind-up merchant got Pepe sent off in their last meeting (Picture: Getty Images)

Leeds United forward Patrick Bamford has revealed that teammate Ezgjan Alioski is relishing the opportunity to wind up Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe again when the two teams meet on Sunday.

Back in November the sides drew 0-0 at Elland Road with the Gunners forced to dig in when they were reduced to 10 men at the start of the second half after Pepe was goaded into headbutting Alioski.

Arsenal’s players felt the Macedonian had gone down theatrically and Kieran Tierney even had to be dragged away from the Leeds man at the end of the game when he tried to confront him over the theatrics.

Arsenal's Nicolas Pepe sent off against Leeds
After an intervention from VAR, Pepe was shown a red card at Elland Road (Picture: Getty)

The two teams go head-to-head again this weekend at the Emirates and Bamford has fuelled the animosity further by revealing that Alioski has been mocking Pepe in the build-up to their reunion.

When it was suggested Arsenal’s players would not be able to handle Alioski winding them up for another 90 minutes, Bamford said on The Official Leeds United podcast: ‘Do you know what, he said in the changing room the other day: “I can’t wait for Sunday”.

‘I was like, “Why?” He was like, “I’m playing against my mate Pepe again”. I was like, “No way!”’

Podcast regular and former Leeds striker Jermaine Beckford chimed in: ‘He would wind me up so much playing against him. He’s constantly ratting around all the time.’

Bamford replied laughing: ‘He’s the worst isn’t he. He never shuts up either.’

Leeds go into Sunday’s match a point and a place above Arsenal having played a game less and Bamford is optimistic about their chances of leaving the Emirates with a result.

He continued: ‘I think start of the season if you’d said we’d play Arsenal away in February and you’re going to be ahead of them in the league, then I don’t think anyone would have believed it.

Leeds United v Burnley - Premier League
Leeds would move four points clear of Arsenal with a game in hand if they win (Picture: Getty)

‘But that’s just the way it’s gone, and I’m excited about it. I think it will suit us, and we’ll see how we get on.

‘Now, I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but we want to be looking forward and seeing how far we can get.’

Beckford added: ‘My money is on us winning. Arsenal seem to be in a bad place at the moment, nothing is working out for them.

‘They’ve got a couple of players who are coming in, going out, and there’s no stability within their ranks. So I don’t think they’ll be able to deal with the overload, the work rate, the finishing prowess of our one and only number nine.’

MORE : Arsenal defender William Saliba investigated by French FA over X-rated video

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