Nicolas Pepe says the current Arsenal team need to address their concentration problems if they’re going to succeed, following defeat to Manchester City.

Arsenal’s French-born Ivorian midfielder Nicolas Pepe plays the ball during the UEFA Europa League group B football match Molde v Arsenal in Molde, Norway on November 26, 2020. (Photo by SVEIN OVE EKORNESVAG / NTB / AFP via Getty Images)

Whatever gameplan Arsenal put together to face league leaders Manchester City, it surely didn’t involve going 1-0 down within the first two minutes.

The team clearly weren’t at the races from the start, and letting Raheem Sterling get the jump on you to score a header so early in the game is clear evidence of that. Nicolas Pepe said afterwards that the team are having trouble focusing.

“We have concentration problems, we need to sort that out,” Pepe told RMC (via GFFN). “We had chances in this match too. In this game, there was that goal & then nothing.”

It’s hard to argue that’s not a fair comment. In Arsenal’s four defeats since the turn of the year, two have come via an extremely early goal, one from a red card just before half-time and the other from an own goal.

Then you look at the draw against Benfica where a handball gifted the opposition a penalty out of nowhere, or the win over Leeds United where somehow a 4-0 lead was cut in half as Arsenal relaxed when the game should have been dead.

Those are the kinds of mistakes you have to avoid to be a top team. Excluding the City clash, most of the above matches involved Arsenal having a lot of the ball and control over the game, but throwing that away in moments where they lost focus.

It’s certainly something Mikel Arteta and his coaching team need to work on.