£72m Down The Pan: Nicolas Pepe irks Twitter with puzzling decision making

Arsenal and Leeds United met at the Emirates with plenty at stake. For Arsenal, a chance to solidify their UCL aspirations was on offer, whereas Leeds fought for survival in the top flight. 

The game was essentially done and dusted during the first half, as Leeds crumbled and conceded twice within the first 10 minutes. A rash challenge by Luke Ayling in the 27th minute earned him a red card, complicating their task further. 

Instead of finishing off a 10-man Leeds, the Gunners took their foot off the gas, choosing to cruise through the remainder of the game. 

However, the match took a tense turn when Diego Llorente managed to pull one back in the 66th. Leeds continued to pour forward with hopes of equalising, leading to a nervy finish to the game for the Gunners. After a miscued pass from Lewis Bate, Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe was presented with a golden opportunity to ease all the nerves. 

He failed to convert rather unceremoniously, and Arsenal fans online were simply baffled at his decision making. 

As seen in this image, the Ivorian received the ball near the opposition half, with acres of green to run at. And evidently, there was quite literally no defensive cover, as Leeds had flooded forward for a set-piece. Even goalkeeper Illan Meslier was absent, leaving behind an empty net. 

In fact, Pepe only had a backtracking Dan James as his opposition, whom he clearly had a yard on. 

Instead of turning on the afterburners and motoring forward, the forward decided to cut inside, in order to nutmeg the Wales international. His attempt failed immediately as James collected the ball with ease.

Fans online were heavily displeased with Pepe, and simply couldn’t believe his decision to cut inside. 

The 26-year-old received a fortunate let off, as the Gunners managed to hold on to their slender advantage. A huge North London Derby now awaits Arsenal, one which potentially decides the top 4 race.