Joe Cole praises Nicolas Pepe for ‘making a difference’ in Arsenal’s draw with Burnley

Joe Cole praised Nicolas Pepe after Arsenal's draw with Burnley
Joe Cole praised Nicolas Pepe after Arsenal’s draw with Burnley (Picture: BT Sport)

Joe Cole singled out Nicolas Pepe for praise after Arsenal’s frustrating draw with Burnley in the Premier League.

The Gunners were held to a 1-1 draw at Turf Moor on Saturday afternoon, with a bizarre Granit Xhaka error costing Arsenal after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had given the visitors an early lead.

After being named on the bench, Arsenal record signing Pepe replaced Willian with 20 minutes remaining and Cole was impressed by his cameo.

Pepe thought he had won Arsenal a penalty when he was intercepted in the box by Erik Pieters’ arm, but referee Andre Marriner waved play on and VAR did not overturn the decision.

Ivory Coast star Pepe almost scored for Arsenal late on but Pieters superbly blocked his volley onto the bar with his shoulder.

But Pepe only had himself to blame earlier in the match when he missed a glorious chance, failing to make contact with Kieran Tierney’s inviting cross.

Despite the miss, former England star Cole praised Pepe and said he ‘made a difference’ after coming off the bench.

Pepe replaced Willian in the second-half of the draw
Pepe replaced Willian in the second-half of the draw (Picture: Getty)

‘He had an impact,’ Cole told BT Sport. ‘This is the role I think he plays now, he comes on and makes things happens.

‘He came on the pitch and he had a go, he made a difference. But this is the bad side of him [the miss]. It’s a perfect ball to him and he should score.

‘Arsenal are the hardest team to analyse because I don’t know whether it’s a lack of quality or character in the team.’

Aubameyang put Arsenal in control with an early goal at Turf Moor but Burnley equalised when Xhaka attempted to play out from the back and saw his pass deflect off Chris Wood and into the net.

Speaking after the 1-1 draw, Gunners boss Mikel Arteta said: ‘It’s a really tough place to come on a difficult pitch, but I have to say we should have scored the big chances we had.

‘When you miss the chances we had, and you do not get decisions, it is complicated to win football games. If that is not a penalty, then someone needs to explain what one is.

‘From what we produced, you have to come here and win. When you do not, you have to look at yourself. We completely dominated the first half but they make it difficult with a lot of long ball.

‘We generated chances and we should have won by two or three goals. if you give any hope to any team in the Premier League, they are going to take it.’

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