Although Arsenal lost to Wolves on Tuesday, us Gooners were finally treated to an excellent bit of footwork from Nicholas Pepe, and a sublime finish to cap it off.
Since his arrival 18 months ago, Pepe has only shown small glimpses of the form he had in Ligue 1 with Lille, and he certainly showed supreme confidence in scoring against Wolves, as Rio Ferdinand said on BTSport (as quoted by the Metro : “Pepe has got his swagger back.
“We have mentioned the press being so successful for this Arsenal team coming into this game.
“Here they saw it, they smelt it and they went in and win the ball, Pepe himself wins it first and then it’s about him from here.
“He puts it through [Nelson] Semedo’s legs, a bit of luck and a bit of trickery, shuffles his way through and this finish is just sublime. What a finish off his right foot.
“He’s starting to show glimpses of why they invested so heavily in him.”
Pepe has been in and out of the first team and has only made the starting XI just 7 times in this campaign, and he obviously didn’t impress Arteta enough to let him keep his place, in fact I would say right now that he was basically a backup to Bukayo Saka.
But I am sure that Arteta will not want the youngster to burn out as he has become such an influential figure already, and having Saka as competition for his spot may be part of the reason why Pepe has upped his game lately.
Having a rejuvenated Pepe around to show his magic now and again will be warmly welcomed, especially when you consider the fee we paid for him, and Arteta made it clear that he will carrying on playing if he keeps his form up. “Even when we made decisions not to play him, he kept working hard,” the boss said on Arsenal.com. “He has improved in a lot of areas and has been much more consistent for 90 minutes.
“He’s a threat at the moment because he’s been scoring goals, he’s been assisting players, he’s been a real threat. He needs to continue doing that.
“At the end of the day, we have to play the players who are in the best form and everybody has to earn the right to play and participate in the games. That’s what everybody’s doing, pushing each other to raise the level.”
Now if only we can Pepe, Saka, Lacazette, Aubz and Martinelli all fit and in-form, we could have a top class forward line for every single game, even when rotation is needed.
Could Pepe have finally got his mojo back?