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Xhaka responds to Pepe’s apology to Arsenal team after his red card

Granit Xhaka has backed Nicolas Pepe to “come back stronger” after he was sent off in Arsenal’s goalless draw with Leeds.

Pepe was shown a straight red card for violent conduct after he headbutted Ezgjan Alioski early into the second half at Elland Road.

The £72million forward took to Instagram to apologise after the match, telling the Gunners supporters: “I have let my team down at a crucial time of the game and there is no excuses for my behaviour. I am deeply sorry and would like to apologise to the fans, my team-mates, my coach and everyone at the club.”

Xhaka, who has previously captained Arsenal, responded to the comment to show his support for his team-mate.

Nicolas Pepe was shown a straight red card for violent conduct

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He wrote: “Keep going brother. You come back stronger. WE ARE WITH YOU.”

Gunners manager Mikel Arteta was a little less supportive than Xhaka at the time of the incident, and was furious with Pepe for getting himself dismissed.

“Considering how early we got Pepe sent off we have to take [a point],” Arteta told Sky Sports. “I never like a draw but in the circumstances, it’s a point. It is unacceptable.

“The first half there were two different periods. The game broke a bit, we started to give the ball away and led to them having the space to break.

Granit Xhaka has backed Pepe to “come back stronger”

“The second half it was a matter of defending well and staying patient and using the pace of our players in the space they were leaving.”

When asked for his thought’s on the headbutt, Arteta responded: “Unacceptable.”

Will Nicolas Pepe be an Arsenal player this time next season? Have your say here.

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