Bukayo Saka’s outburst at Pepe as Mikel Arteta backs Arsenal star after emotions run high
During Arsenal’s win against Burnley, both Bukayo Saka and Gabriel were clearly distraught with Pepe.
Since coming to north London in 2019, the Ivorian has been severely chastised for failing to live up to his £72 million price tag.
And his performance at Turf Moor was just another evidence of that, as he was wasteful in the final third on several occasions, particularly in the first half, when Arsenal was in control and seeking for a deadly second goal after Martin Odegaard’s stunning free-kick had put them ahead.
Pepe’s teammates were quick to express their disappointment with his decision-making during the 1-0 win.
Saka was enraged when the winger’s cutback was deflected behind him, which would have left the Englishman with just Nick Pope to beat from close range.
Gabriel was also furious with the 26-year-old for a defensive blunder in the second half when Arsenal was under siege from Burnley in search of an equaliser.
After an Arsenal counterattack failed, the centre-back could be seen shouting at Pepe to trackback.
Mikel Arteta, on the other hand, supported the Brazilian, praising him for how loud he was on the pitch and how his communication abilities are improving week by week.
“We know he’s a player with a bright future who has already given us a lot,” he added.
“He’s done a fantastic job adjusting to the league. That is why he was signed.
“He’s moving up, his language is considerably improved, and he can teach and interact with his teammates a lot better.
“He knows what we want, and I don’t believe there is anything more difficult than playing in the Premier League. Today against Burnley, he was outstanding.”
Arteta was pleased with his team’s ability to endure Burnley’s onslaught in the second half and believes it will bring them closer together as a unit moving forward as they slowly but steadily climb the Premier League standings.
“It creates confidence, trust, and conviction that you can go through difficult periods in games and still win at the end,” he continued.
“That’s what we’re all hoping for.”