Lacazette and Pepe slammed after Arsenal loss to Olympiacos | South Africa
Lacazette and Pepe slammed after Arsenal loss to Olympiacos

Lacazette and Pepe slammed after Arsenal loss to Olympiacos

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has slammed club's duo of Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe after the Gunners were eliminated for the Europa League. 

The Gunners threw away a 1-0 first-leg lead as they suffered a 2-1 defeat on Thursday night, exiting the Europa League at the round of 32. Youssef El Arabi scored the winner in the 119th minute to knock out the Gunners. Club's captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed a guilt-edged chance to win the tie and looked on the verge of tears after the final whistle. 

Arsenal pair Pepe and Lacazette struggled to make an impact, failing to find the back of the net and Keown has described the Frenchman as a ‘passenger’ in the game while calling the Ivorians' decision making poor.

"This is a game that was there for the taking," he told BT Sport. 

"They were complacent in their performance, is it the attitude? Is it the quality of the players? It was so disappointing. It was the first time tonight I felt that the players weren’t responding to the manager and the manager didn’t have the answers."

"It was very static, Lacazette was almost a passenger, [Gabriel] Martinelli came on and did exceptionally well. Why wasn’t he on earlier in the match? They left it too late. I just feel it was an unprofessional performance, and Arteta will be looking at it now thinking ‘where do I go from here’?" 

"It’s going to be an uphill battle to make it into the Champions League just in the Premier League. There’s going to be quite a fall out from this because Arteta is a young manager, he’s inexperienced with a new set of staff and he’s going to have to build this club back up again. If you break down the performance you could look at every single player and say they could have done more tonight. ‘Pepe at times his decision making [was poor], that element of his game is going to have to improve massively and I felt that it was almost obvious Martinelli had to come on."

"I was sat close to Arteta, I was tempted to go over and say put Martinelli on."

The Gunners' league position of ninth makes the prospect of Champions League football via domestic competition difficult.