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Arsenal and Leeds issue joint statement as Pepe and Alioski are abused online

Arsenal and Leeds have chosen to issue a joint statement as Pepe and Ezgjan Alioski are abused online by social media users.

The two players were targeted after an incident involve the duo during Sunday’s draw, seeing Pepe sent off for a headbutt on the Leeds player.

The incident took place minutes into the second half, Ezgjan Alioski went down on the ground after a clash with Nicolas Pepe. It looks like Pepe moved his head towards Alioski’s and VAR had to take a look at it.

The referee goes to the pitchside monitor after missing the incident, and was quickly satisfied it was a sending off for Nicolas Pepe.

It was silly from the Arsenal man and the Gunners had it all to do with the game at 0-0.

Phil Hay, a respected journalist, wrote: “Statements released by Leeds and Arsenal condemning online abuse sent to Nicolas Pepe and Gjanni Alioski after yesterday’s red card. Messages were of a racist nature and also included threats towards Alioski’s family.”

Arsenal said via their Twitter account: “We utterly condemn the vile abuse directed at Nicolas Pepe and Ezgjan Alioski on social media following our match against Leeds. This is completely unacceptable and we will be working with the police and authorities to do everything we can to trace and prosecute the culprits.”

Pepe was called a n****r a huge amount on Twitter last night, the most used racial slur during last night’s game.

Leeds wrote: “The vile abuse directed at Ezgjan Alioski and Nicolas Pepe on social media after yesterday’s Premier League game with Arsenal will not be tolerated by Leeds United.

“We will work closely with the police and the footballing authorities to ensure those responsible are identified and punished.”

Stephen Warnock, ex-Leeds and Liverpool defender, said on BBC Radio 5 Live: “It was an incident off the ball. Pepe just pushes his head towards him and Alioski goes to ground and makes the most of it.

“He’s let his team-mates and manager down there.”

Gary Neville, on co-commentary for Sky Sports, said: “It’s Pepe and Alioski. Has Pepe reacted? He’s wandering back towards the Leeds man.

“Oh… he might be in a bit of trouble. Yes, he’s in trouble.

“He’s reacted to the initial contact and Alioski just stands his ground and the head comes towards him.

“He’s done.

“Taylor won’t duck it – Pepe may as well start walking now. There you go, one look. Gone.”

After the game, Patrice Evra claimed Ezgjan Alioski was deserving of an Oscar for his part in Pepe’s red card, but the ex-Man Utd man said the Arsenal forward only had himself to blame.

Evra said, 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.”

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta condemned the actions of his player, saying it was “unacceptable.”

“Considering how early Pepe got sent off, we have to take [the draw],” Arteta said.

Asked whether there was any excuse for Pepe’s actions, he promptly responded: “No. It’s unacceptable.”

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