Former Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan believes Nicolas Pepe is ‘cheating’ Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta and could get him the sack.
A dreadful season for the Gunners got worse on Tuesday as they were eliminated from the EFL Cup. A listless quarter-final display saw Manchester City run out 4-1 winners at the Emirates.
It was another all-round poor effort by a side seemingly devoid of confidence. They have also struggled in the Premier League and sit 15th in the standings with only 14 points to date.
The north Londoners have won only once in 10 league outings and are just four points above the relegation zone.
It seems unthinkable that a club the size of Arsenal could go down. But new West Brom boss Sam Allardyce thinks it could happen.
Asked if he saw Arsenal as a rival in the battle for Premier League survival, Allardyce said: “If they are in the bottom eight at the moment, yes. Absolutely.”
If things do not improve then it is likely that Arteta will be removed from his post. And, if that happens, Jordan has laid the blame squarely at the feet of his squad.
“I know I made the observation that ultimately managers get themselves sacked. But this group of players will get him sacked,” he said on talkSPORT.
“I am looking at their performances, I am looking at what they are putting out on the pitch and I think they are cheating, some of these players.
“They are cheating the club and they are cheating their manager.”
Finger pointing at Pepe
Although one player does not make a team, many observers have rounded on Pepe’s perceived lack of effort. Match of the Day pundit Alan Shearer recently gave him both barrels for failing to make runs into the box.
The Frenchman came on in the second half on Tuesday as replacement for the injured Gabriel Martinelli. He made little impact and Jordan pulled no punches in his assessment of Arsenal’s record signing.
“They are cheating, look at Pepe,” added the businessman. “We all have our difficulties and challenges in life and football brings about its different challenges, but if that’s a £72million footballer, then with due respect, I am a monkey’s uncle because that is not worth the money.
“The way he strolled around in the second half and he showed no interest in the game.”