Has Arsenal’s 72m man finally got his act together?

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?

Tags Arteta Ferdinand Pepe

21 Comments

  1. Val says:

    He has played well recently and i very much hope he carries this on for the rest of the season but lets not get ahead of ourselves, we have seen how inconsistent he can be so lets just wait and see how he gets on for the rest of the season

  2. Kstix says:

    He’s shown flashes of what he can do before but I think he’s starting to add a bit of consistency to his game which I applaud him for. It takes ambition and passion to get oneself up from the dunghill and start fighting for a place in the starting lineup. I’ve slated him in the past but credit where it’s due. Hopefully Hopefully he keeps improving on this run of form. He’s a better shooter of the ball than Auba or Laca, Auba just edges him in positioning and being a natural poacher(tap ins and what nots). I guess nobody wants to remain on the bench anymore save maybe willian although willian had his second best performance, after Fullham, in an arsenal shirt when he came on for martinelli against Southampton. I guess the team is starting to really improve as a whole and it’s getting contagious. From xhaka, to Luiz to pepe etc players we complained about are playing better consistently. Some thing’s cooking at the Emirates.

    1. Khadii says:

      That was against Man utd i think

  3. PJ-SA says:

    He’s been played in the right position…..took long enough! The majority of fans were calling for him to get a go at LW for months already, not sure why it took so long to try it out.

    No surprise his performances have picked up since the switch.

    1. siamois says:

      I completely agree!

    2. Kstix says:

      He played the right wing against utd and played well

      1. PJ-SA says:

        @kstix Nowhere did i say he can’t or hasnt had a good game at RW, my statement is obviously talking over all games.

        Its quite clear he has struggled for the majority of him games on the RW. So far, which is only a few games,he has looked more comfortable on the LW

  4. Gooner says:

    Pepe has been playing much better out on the left so auba has to play more central

  5. Trudeau says:

    Let’s have this discussion at the end of the month. The last few games proved he has the ability it, the next half dozen or so will prove whether he can bring it consistently.

  6. McLovin says:

    He’s doing well right now. Warranted a starting place vs. Villa.

    LAst year he scored 8 goals in 42 appearances. This year he’s got 7 in 26. Just keep on grinding those goals and assists.

    I would say 10-15 goal return for a winger is decent.

    It’s obvious we overpaid but its hardly Pepe’s fault.

  7. Wyoming says:

    25 league goals a season would justify his transfer fee and salary.
    Last season 31 PL games 5 goals.
    This season 15 PL games 4 goals.
    So he needs anothet 17 PL goals this season and then average 33 goals a season till his contract runs out in 2024 to fully justify his fee and salary.
    .

    1. The Bishop says:

      Wyoming! Is that you mr Kroenke? It sounds like it’s your money that’s been spent on the player. You are just sitting in your cheer, throwing comments like you have a say in the club. You don’t even participate in training..what a meaningless comment on what he needs to deliver to justify his transfer. You should be glad player’s wants to come play for us. You should just sitt back and enjoy the games. At lest he have put down the thousands of work hours to become a player, it took you probably 5 minutes and no training and no money to post the comment on what he should deliver to justify our benchmarks.

  8. Gozie says:

    I’ve always believed in pepe and have always said that arteta made a mistake by not allowing him get better by playing willian instead of pepe, he did very well in the europa games so at that time I thought he would be given the chance to do same in the epl but he was weakened by arteta’s comment, though it’s just my thought ( when he makes a mistake he is relegated to europa#arteta#) and I asked what happens to Willian who was the reason behind pepe being benched but I’m happy everything is turning out good, up arsenal.

  9. Jim wall says:

    I have slated him in the past but fair play to the lad he is tracking back and closing down defenders,
    He should keep his place on the left wing,
    Him and saka are very good finishers would love to see Pepe martinelle saka as a front 3 with ESR as a no 10…

  10. Declan says:

    I’ve been advocating he should play on the left all season because he is so left footed and then he scores a fantastic goal with his right foot!

  11. Gunner23 says:

    He should make LWF his own, because he seems a one foot only player defenders don’t expect to have a decent right foot. Hope he gets a really good run of games with him on the left and Saka on the right

  12. Reggie says:

    Its funny how some of us fans could see he needed to play on the left and our leader couldn’t. Yet another decision made by default and not design.

  13. Herb of the Earth says:

    Football is an extremely technical game. When the discussion started about Pepe I asked for us to look at his analysis. When I used to play we had a book with drawings. Now we have videos. I am not proud of how Pepe has been treated. Now look at his videos – if you have the time.

    1. He runs in on defenders and breaks 2 or 3 – rarely ever 4. He is not Messi. This means that if you do not have a #10 to support him and a strong defense he will not do well. In every game that he is required to go and fetch the ball deep in his half he loses the ball before he can damage the defense. So this ‘go deep and run like Usain Bolt’ has been stupid. Pepe also looks frustrated (sometimes angry) when he has to do that here. Back in France he plays on the edge of the defenders. That is why he scored many goals.
    2. He defends his ball better on the left, but his right foot is inferior to his left.
    3. He takes better shots from being on the right cutting in but he is at greater risk of losing the ball. Check his stats.
    4. He is not stocky and he is pain-averse, so he goes down naturally – a penalty magnet.
    5. He is a good finisher.
    6. He is better than Willian even if Willian is at his peak. Check the stats.

    Conclusion: Keep him near the box. Lessen his defensive work load. Keep him happy. Let him play over Willian. GOAL!

  14. Grandad says:

    Could he be effective as a central striker?.In any event as a conventional RW in the EPL he will never make it, so keep him on the left flank where he can cross on the run without having to double back.I’m afraid I am unable to understand the obsession with playing “inverted” wingers .They may score the occasional goal after cutting inside to their stronger foot, but the number of opportunities missed by not getting to the byline far outweighs this predictable practise which enables defenders to regroup and choke the spaces.A classic example in my opinion is Gareth Bale who was fabulous on the left but less effective on the right.

  15. jon fox says:

    WHAT Pepe finally showed at Wolves , where he has been so lacking before that, is that it SEEMS that at long last , he has understood the vital necessity for ALL players to give their all on the pitch and not meekly give up when challenged, as Walcott, OZIL(in particular), Mkhi and Willian have done in our shirt. Thankfully, there are now early signs that even Willian might have got the message, at last.
    MA is not AW, and as such will never allow lazy players to wear our shirt without being dropped or sidelined, as with Ozil. Either Pepe and Willian now fight hard and regularly, OR they will be out of the team long term.
    Simple as that, as MA has amply and wonderfully already demonstrated .

    How cathartic to have, after all those years of drift, a manager in charge who will not pamper to players and who will always put the team and the club FIRST!. HURRAH!

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