Kevin Campbell has applauded Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta for his decision to bench Nicolas Pepe against Leeds United.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Gunners striker claimed Pepe, 25, was unlucky to miss out but said the result ultimately proved the team selection right.
The winger was an unused substitute on Sunday as Mikel Arteta’s side beat Leeds 4-2 at the Emirates.
Pepe‘s omission from the starting eleven came as a surprise – the left-footer has been impressive of late and started four consecutive league matches going into the clash.
Since the turn of the year he has shown flashes of the player Arsenal signed for £72million in August 2019, with goals at Wolves and Southampton in recent weeks.
When asked whether Pepe was unlucky to be replaced by January signing Martin Odegaard for the game against Leeds, Campbell told Football Insider:
“Of course I feel sorry for him but the most important thing is, as a squad, you have to be flexible.
“I think it was more down to the opponent. We all know what happened at Elland Road with Gjanni Alioski – Pepe got himself sent off. I am not saying he would have got sent off in this game but Mikel Arteta recognised a weakness in Leeds and that meant he had to sacrifice Pepe.
“The decision paid off so you have to applaud it as good management.”