Emery left to rue Pepe miss as Gunners lose to Blades
Arsenal boss Unai Emery was left to rue Nicolas Pepe’s first-half miss as the Gunners slipped to a 1-0 defeat at Sheffield United.
Emery’s men had a great chance to jump up to third place in the Premier League standings, but came unstuck at Bramall Lane, with Pepe’s miss proving to decisive, according to the Spanish tactician.
Pepe, a £72million summer signing from Lille, contrived to fire off target when placed in front of goal from Sead Kolasinac’s pin-point cross with the score at 0-0.
The Blades took full advantage, with Lys Mousset turning the ball home in the 30th minute following a corner for what proved to be the winning goal.
Pepe has had a tough time settling since making the switch and this latest miss will not help his confidence. Even so, Emery was quick to point out the result would have been a different one had the forward stuck the chance away.
Our head coach speaks after #SHUARS…
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) October 21, 2019
“That was the key I think because if that (Pepe’s chance) goes in – they are the team in the Premier League who have conceded least goals with Liverpool, seven only,” said Emery.
“And if they score the first goal then defensively they are very strong and they defended very well in the second half.
“It’s not easy to create the chances, but I think we controlled the ball more in the (better) positions.
“I think we deserved more. I don’t think we deserved to lose the match, but I appreciate (Sheffield United’s) work and I appreciate they are here with their supporters.”
Emery also bemoaned referee Mike Dean’s decision not to award his side an early penalty when John Egan pulled Sokratis back by his shirt as the hosts defended a corner.
Arsenal’s eight-game unbeaten run in all competitions has now come to an end and they will be looking to bounce back when they face Crystal Palace at home on Sunday.