Paul Merson has blasted the performances so far this season of Arsenal winger Nicolas Pepe, saying that the Ivory Coast international needs to “pull his finger out”.
Writing in a column for the Daily Star, however, Merson, who began by criticising Unai Emery’s tactics, also said that the 24-year-old’s start has not been good enough and demanded more of the attacker.
“And Nicolas Pepe needs to pull his finger out too,” the pundit said. “He hasn’t looked anything like a £72m footballer so far.”
Speaking about Emery and his start to the season, Merson wrote: “It’s Unai Wenger at Arsenal at the moment because it’s the same old story.
“They go 2-0 down against Tottenham and suddenly the shackles come off and they look like the Harlem Globetrotters. But then against Watford they go 2-0 up and by the end of the game they’re hanging on for dear life. That can’t happen.
“It’s like the Arsene Wenger days all over again. It’s no different. Why is it that just because there’s a new rule where you don’t have to go out of your box at a goal kick, that Arsenal think they have to pass it four yards across their own goal?
“It’s Playstation football. It’s something you’d see on FIFA. Not in the Premier League. Emery will have to change his ways or he’ll soon be out of a job. If they don’t beat Aston Villa at the Emirates today the fans might start to turn.”
Emery has been criticised for his side’s defending at times this season, but the Spaniard has insisted that the problems at the back are not solely the fault of his back four.
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