Mikel Arteta needs to ignore this advice from Charlie Nicholas.
Arsenal legend Charlie Nicholas has bizarrely suggested that Nicolas Pepe hasn’t done enough to earn a place in the team to take on Olympiacos in the Europa League this Thursday night.
A reminder: in his last two starts for Mikel Arteta’s side, the Ivory Coast international has one goal and three assists. We think he’s probably doing okay.
Discussing Arsenal’s game against Olympiacos this week, Nicholas told Sky Sports: “Joe Willock and Alexandre Lacazette will come in I think. You have to keep Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in for his goals. Will Nicolas Pepe get another run? Probably. Does he deserve it? Probably not. I would probably look at Gabriel Martinelli.”
While we think there’s definitely some sense in bringing Gabriel Martinelli into the team more, there’s no reason this needs to be at the expense of Pepe.
The young Brazilian has had a fine season, but has shown he can play as a centre-forward or wide on the left, with Pepe clearly best when he’s out on the right flank.
Dropping the former Lille man just as he seems to be finding some rhythm and confidence seems majorly counter-productive, so let’s hope that, as we suspect, Arteta won’t take Nicholas’ advice too seriously here.