Nicolas Pépé

Alioski 'deserves an Oscar' for role in Pepe's red card, claims Evra

22:25 SAST 2020/11/22
Ezgjan Alioski Leeds United 2020-21
The Arsenal forward was shown a straight red card by referee Anthony Taylor for aiming a headbutt at the defender

Patrice Evra has claimed Ezgjan Alioski was deserving of an Oscar for his part in Nicolas Pepe’s red card, but the former Manchester United man said the Arsenal forward only had himself to blame.

Pepe was shown a straight red card by referee Anthony Taylor for aiming a headbutt at Alioski on 51 minutes of the 0-0 draw in the Premier League.

It was the culmination of a running battle Alioski and Pepe had been involved in for the previous few minutes.

Alioski fell to the ground easily under what looked like minimal contact, but Pepe did thrust his head towards the Leeds United man’s face and can have no complaints.

Evra noted as such, as he told Sky Sports: “Really silly from Pepe.

“You are not playing a lot and Arteta gave you a chance, so do not cry when you play the next game.

“When you do that it is a frustration. It is silly. I think [Pepe] should say sorry to all his team-mates because Arsenal had a plan and of course everything changed."

Evra feels Pepe is being weighed down by the £72 million fee Arsenal paid for him from Lille in 2019.

“I saw him playing in France, he was happy, he was smiling,” Evra said. “You can see, the price tag, the fans are against him.

“A good player but I am really disappointed. I always protect him but I cannot defend him."

Commenting on Alioski’s part in the dismissal, Evra noted: “Alioski deserves an Oscar. He played so well, if I was the Leeds coach I would be so happy with Alioski but come on, he looked like he broke his nose.”

Pepe is now facing up to the prospect of a three-game ban, which is the standard for violent conduct, and he will have a battle on his hands to get back in the side.

Being handed a start at Elland Road on Sunday was viewed as a big opportunity for the Ivory Coast international, and Gunners manager Mikel Arteta looked deeply unhappy with his player when discussing the matter in his post-match interview, so it remains to be seen when another chance emerges for the 25-year-old.