Ian Wright criticises Ben White & Pepe after Arsenal’s draw with Crystal Palace


Ian Wright took aim at Ben White and Nicolas Pepe after Arsenal’s draw with Crystal Palace and felt the visitors were ‘unfortunate’ not to get a win.

Alexandre Lacazette struck in the fifth minute of stoppage time to deny Palace a win on his return to Arsenal for the first time as manager.

Goals from Christian Benteke and Odsonne Edouard had given Palace huge hope of securing all three points after Aubameyang’s eighth-minute opening goal in north London.

The result stretched the Gunners unbeaten streak to six games in all competitions and moved Mikel Arteta’s men up to 12th in the Premier League.

‘I think it’s a little bit of a worry for Arsenal because when you look at both goals, we’re not getting defenders to go and engage,’ Wright told Premier League Productions after the final whistle.

‘He’s [White] got to get closer to him [Edouard] and he doesn’t do it. They’ve done brilliantly to score the goal.

‘I think he’s got to get close to him… at no stage does Ben White close that gap. People can say what they want, maybe the goalkeeper or whatever… at no stage does that gap get smaller so why wouldn’t you shoot?’

Wright was not impressed with Pepe’s ineffective performance on the right flank and applauded Palace for the fighting spirit they showed in the derby.

‘I think Palace totally capitalised, they did their homework on Arsenal, they closed down the right people and shut down the left side. Kieran Tierney didn’t do anything,’ he added.

‘Pepe was very disappointing again and once they scored, Arsenal did not take it to Palace.

‘We’ve seen Palace come back a couple of times and there’s no way they were going to rest on their laurels. They were going to go for Arsenal and they did and they were unfortunate not to win today.’

Lacazette’s composure to find space and rescue a much needed point for Arsenal at the death impressed club legend Wright.

‘What you can look at there is just a striker’s instinct. He just goes and finds some space somewhere and “bam!”. That’s a striker’s instinct and he’s taken full advantage of that,’ he went on.

‘He’s got himself out of the ruck because the ball might come to him and in the end he’s sniffed it out.

‘From his point of view, trying to get back into that team, it’s brilliant. ‘You can see what it means for Patrick. It’s devastating for him.’

Lacazette’s goal was his ninth in the Premier League after coming on as a substitute for the London side.


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