Arsenal winger Nicolas Pepe has been slated by BBC Sport pundit Alan Hutton for his poor set-piece taking in Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round defeat.
Mikel Arteta’s Gunners headed to Southampton in the day’s early kickoff, hoping to take a step further to retaining the trophy they won last summer.
With Tuesday’s Premier League encounter – also away to Saints – in mind, Arteta opted to field a team without some of his usual starters and in-form players.
Thomas Partey and Bukayo Saka made the bench, while Emile Smith Rowe was left out of the squad completely.
The likes of Pepe, Mohamed Elneny, Eddie Nketiah and Willian all got a start, but they all flattered to deceive as Southampton ran out 1-0 winners.
The Arsenal record signing spurned several good opportunities in the game and also made some bad set-piece deliveries, which prompted Hutton to comment.
“Pepe’s corner was so disappointing,” he said on BBC Radio 5 Live.
“It’s a chance when they get up the pitch and he hits the first man – it’s so poor.
“The delivery from Arsenal has been poor all day, he just lifted that over the bar and he needs to do a lot better than that.”
Pepe was superb at Lille and, when he joined Arsenal on the back 22 goals and 11 assists in his final season in Ligue 1, it seemed like money well spent.
However, he has failed to live up to expectations at the Emirates and, while it’s not his fault Arsenal paid £72million for him, he’s still struggling.
If Pepe’s form doesn’t pick up by the end of the season, then it remains to be seen whether Arteta sees a future for the £140,000-a-week man at the Emirates.