Martin Keown and Rio Ferdinand criticise Arsenal record signing Nicolas Pepe after Chelsea draw

Martin Keown criticised Nicolas Pepe after Arsenal’s draw with Chelsea (Picture: BT Sport)

Martin Keown and Rio Ferdinand criticised the work rate of Arsenal record signing Nicolas Pepe after the Gunners’ impressive draw against London rivals Chelsea.

Arsenal overcame David Luiz’s red card against his former club to twice come from behind against Frank Lampard’s side in a dramatic derby on Tuesday evening.

The Gunners were fearing the worst when Jorginho slotted home from the penalty spot after Luiz was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Tammy Abraham.

But Brazilian striker Gabriel Martinelli took advantage of N’Golo Kante’s slip to race through on goal and equalise for Arsenal after half-time.

Gunners record signing Pepe in action against Chelsea (Picture: Getty)

Blues captain Cesar Azpilicueta restored Chelsea’s lead with six minutes remaining but Arsenal earned a point through skipper Hector Bellerin, who was making his first appearance in over a month.

Keown and Ferdinand heaped praise on Martinelli after the eventful draw and said there was a clear contrast between the teenager and £72million signing Pepe.

Discussing Martinelli’s performance, Arsenal hero Keown told BT Sport: ‘He’s a shining light. He’s been outstanding. The composure is brilliant.

‘He’s happy to do the work. So many players don’t want to run. I know it’s not a night for contrasts but Nicolas Pepe is on the other side not quite working in the same way.

‘I think that [Pepe] is a work in progress and can be much better. If we were to compare the distances they’ve compared and high intensity runs…

‘Martinelli is willing to get back and help out.’

Gabriel Martinelli has been hailed for his performance against Chelsea (Picture: Getty)

On the contrast between Martinelli and Pepe, Ferdinand said: ‘Night and day…’

The Manchester United legend added: ‘To run that far and to have the composure to finish [for his goal] is brilliant.

‘He’s a centre-forward at heart. There’s too many players who sulk after being moved into a different position.

‘The appetite and willingness was great. He’s showing the desire.’

Former Premier League star Joe Cole also hailed Martinelli, saying: ‘This lad is a very, very good player. He’s the future of Arsenal.’

Following Tuesday’s 1-1 draw in west London, Arsenal remain tenth in the Premier League – ten points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea.

MORE: Martin Keown sends transfer message to Mikel Arteta after Shkodran Mustafi howler

MORE: Joe Cole reveals how Frank Lampard will react to Arsenal draw


See also  Hearn: Joshua is fighting Povetkin, Putin and the whole of Russia

Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.  Learn more