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Arsenal stars Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe issued goal challenge by Mikel Arteta

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has urged Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe to step up to the plate with top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang suspended for the next three matches.

The Gabon forward saw his yellow card for a nasty challenge on Max Meyer upgraded to a red by VAR during the 1-1 draw on Saturday .

The Gunners skipper will now miss matches against Sheffield United and Chelsea in the league, as well as the FA Cup fourth-round tie with Bournemouth.

And Arteta has called on fellow forwards Lacazette and Pepe to “step forward” in front of goal for the upcoming games in the absence of their star man.

“They now have to make a step forward now he is not able to contribute to the team with goals,” the Spaniard said.

“Someone else has to do it and I want to see that reaction too.

“Losing probably the most important player is never nice.

Aubameyang was shown a red card after his horror tackle against Crystal Palace

“We have other players that can play in that position. We will try to find a way and be as competitive as possible.”

Arteta also added that Aubameyang’s suspension wouldn’t affect his decision whether Eddie Nketiah would be sent out on loan again.

The England youth international returned to Arsenal having struggled to find game time at Leeds in the first half of the season.

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“I think we have to think long term with Eddie,” Arteta continued.

“We have to respect his evolution, his development and we don’t have to make decisions just based on two or three games.”

Aubameyang will serve the first game of his suspension when the Gunners host high-flying Sheffield United on Saturday (3pm).

Original article: https://www.dailystar.co.uk/sport/football/arsenal-stars-alexandre-lacazette-nicolas-21275924

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