Mikel Arteta made it clear that Nicholas Pepe’s actions on getting sent off against Leeds was “unacceptable”, but the articles saying the Frenchman would now be punished by Arteta and sold at the earliest possible moment have been totally debunked by our Spanish coach.
“No, it’s absolutely not [the end of his Arsenal career after the red card],” Arteta told Arsenal.com. “It’s not about that and I don’t like that type of statement.
“I will give Nico my full support all the time. He knows where he has to improve and we all know his qualities. He has some responsibility, I have a lot of responsibility, which is to get the best out of him and get the best position for him, the best areas where he can do what he can do with the ball. I cannot fault his effort at all.
“You see the way he strives for the team, the way he’s working, it’s been the best since he’s been at the club. But there have been some aspects he can do better in because he has the ability.
“That’s where I’m going to put the pressure on him to deliver what he can do. To say it’s a threat for him to finish his [Arsenal] career… it’s not at all like that.
“The club made a huge investment on him and people expect a lot from him because he has this quality. I said many times with the strikers and attacking players, it’s the most difficult thing to be consistent when you have to create, when you have to unlock the door, when you have to score goals or get assists.
“This is why he’s here and he needs to embrace this challenge, and go for it. We have to provide the best possible and ideal scenarios for him to be able to do that.”
So it would appear that, far from giving up on Pepe, Arteta will be playing him tonight at Molde to give him the earliest opportunity to put the sending off behind him. At least the Frenchman has made a full and heartfelt apology to his boss and his team-mates, and hopefully this will be a catalyst for him to show his very best form tonight and help Arsenal to secure top spot in our Europa League group.
Surely hehas to come good at some poinr?