Gjanni Alioski is relishing the chance to stir things up with hot-headed Arsenal star Nicolas Pepe again when Leeds travel to Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
The pair will renew rivalries once again with Pepe – Arsenal’s record signing – seeing red last time the side’s met. That was back in November when Pepe received his marching orders after reacting to Alioski’s efforts to wind him up. While the Gunners left West Yorkshire with a point in a 0-0 draw, it did not stop Pepe receiving a public ticking off from Mikel Arteta.
Pepe has since recovered from the incident to produce something a little nearer the form that convinced Arsenal to sign him.
However, he’ll clearly be told to be aware of Alioski’s efforts to wind him up should the duo face off again on Sunday.
Indeed, Leeds striker Patrick Bamford has joked that Alioski – often the joker of United’s dressing room – is relishing the opportunity.
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!’”
Arsenal v Leeds United Match Preview, February 14, 2021
A look ahead to the Premier League game between Arsenal and Leeds United, including stats on form, possession, shots, cards, corners, top scorers and previous meetings.
Podcast regular and former Leeds striker Jermaine Beckford then admitted Alioski’s antics would light thge blue touch paper within him had had he ever faced him.
“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!”
Bamford confident of Leeds victory
Leeds go into the match back in the top 10 and a point above Sunday’s opponents. A win over the Gunners would extend their gap over Arteta’s side – and Bamford has explained why Leeds are confident of a win.
“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.
“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.”