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FA Cup: Alan Smith blasts two Arsenal players after 1-0 defeat to Southampton

ENGLAND – Former Arsenal forward, Alan Smith, has slammed the club’s players, Willian and Nicolas Pepe following the club’s FA Cup 1-0 defeat to Southampton on Saturday.

Smith said Willian and Pepe are the ‘big problems’ for their manager, Mikel Arteta because they are not performing well for the Gunners.

Willian and Pepe both started for Arsenal against Southampton at St. Mary’s Stadium but were unable to make an impact as Kyle Walker-Peters’ first-half cross deflected via Gabriel for the only goal of the match.

“I’m not so sure he [if Pepe can still prove his worth to Arsenal and develop into a key player], he’s in his second season now, so it is not as if he’s still adapting to a new country and league,” Smith told Stadium Astro.

“It’s not as if he had been tearing up trees for a long period in France. You can throw the transfer fee at him, but that’s not his fault.

“The fact remains he’s a big signing, and they spent a lot of money on him. If they were to sell him now they would make a huge loss, so that’s another problem.

“They’ve got rid of the Ozil problem, but they are still saddled with the Pepe and Willian problems.”

Smith added: “It all comes down to attitude. If the approach isn’t right, if he still hasn’t got that hunger, then you’re not going to get performances out of him.

“Can Mikel Arteta work with him on the training ground? Can he try and get more out of Willian? Going back to his Chelsea days, how many times did you see him make those bursts and let fly.

“He’s worked hard to get Ozil out of the club, but for Willian now he will turn to him and Pepe and see what he can do with these players.

“Those performances have not been good enough, and it’s a big problem for the manager.”

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