Ljungberg reveals Pepe’s unimpressive form in training was behind benching in Arsenal draw with Norwich

NICOLAS PEPE was forced to watch Arsenal’s draw with Norwich from the bench on Sunday because of his poor showing in training.

Interim boss Freddie Ljungberg revealed after the clash, that finished 2-2, his reasoning behind snubbing the Gunners‘ record signing.

Pepe, 24, must work harder to impress the interim manager
Getty – Contributor

Having only taken charge of a couple of training sessions, the Swede felt the likes of Mesut Ozil and Bukayo Saka were more on their game.

Ljungberg told reporters: “Pepe is a very good player, but I looked at what we did in training and what I see every day.

“And that is how I judge it.”

Since signing from Lille for £72million in the summer, Ivorian winger Pepe has struggled to make his mark.

With just three goals in all competitions, he had been benched in both of former coach Unai Emery’s last matches as boss.

Starting on the flanks at Carrow Road were Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ozil with youngsters Saka and Gabriel Martinelli coming on as substitutes.

Before being promoted to the Arsenal first-team setup in June, Ljungberg had worked extensively with the club academy.

Therefore it was little surprise when the likes of Saka and Joe Willock were given chances to impress on Sunday.

Fellow youngster Tyreece John-Jules made headlines when being called up to senior training for the first session after Unai Emery was sacked.

But fans were left lamenting more of the same in the performance at Norwich.

Teemu Pukki and Todd Cantwell both fired the hosts in front during the first-half with Arsenal relying on a brace of equalisers from Aubameyang amid another far-from convincing performance.


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