Has Arteta got lucky with Pepe’s improvement on his arrival?

Now though, Mikel Arteta has unleashed him and the France-born striker now looks every inch like the real deal after just a few games with Arteta.

One person who is not surprised, and who will be hoping that Pepe doesn’t play on Monday night, is the Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa. The Argentine was a big influence on Pepe’s life when he plucked him from lowly Angers and recruited him for Lille at a cost of just €10 million. This was Bielsa’s assessment of Pepe ahead of the Leeds manager bringing his team to the Emirates on Monday: “Pepe is a great player with big resources and is a goalscorer,’ he said.

‘And he’s a player who is able to unbalance a match. Obvious skills, then you have all of these skills in one player, the value is £72m. It’s just a matter of time and after show those skills.

‘He has showed them clearly and after the price has linked what he has shown on the pitch.

‘One thing is to have the skills, another is to have the skills and show it on the pitch.

‘He does both. He has clearly shown his skills and is at club he deserves to be.’

So was Arteta just lucky that Pepe got into the right frame of mind at the same time as Arteta arrived, or was his previous bad form down to the tactics and instructions from Unai Emery?

I guess we’ll never know for sure, but you can bet that Arteta is very happy about it!


  1. Has Arteta not kept him on the bench for two of his three games and subbed him in the other? I think Pepe is a raw talent that can be a special player for us, i would be actually building a team round him, or at least the strike force because he is young and has massive potential to get way better than anything we have at the moment. He has amazing feet, he just needs a bit of guidance and advice and he could be absolutely anything.

    1. Martinelli > Pepe build team around him!!!!!! I think Pepe will come good, but Martinelli is the way!

  2. Great information about Bielsa’s big influence in Pepe’s career, but I haven’t seen big improvement from Pepe. He is still too predictable due to his tendency to use his left leg

    When I saw his stats at Lille, I thought he could move like Mane and Salah

    Luckily he still has half season to improve his abilities. If he fails to be consistent, Aubameyang, Nelson or Martinelli could take the RW position from him

    1. How many times does Salah shoot with his right – about 3 or 4 % of the time. I remember Pepe having a shot with his right so the percentage is roughly the same.
      An even more extreme example is Bernardo Silva.

      If Bernardo Silva and Salah can be top players by relying 95 – 97 % on their left, why couldn’t Pepe? Especially as Pepe is faster than B. Silva.
      I don’t know how you fail to realize that.

      And saying Nelson can permanently replace Pepe despite being slower, worse at dribbling, ball control, passing, AND shooting is just plain nonsense.

  3. Emery kills the game of any talented player… that WAS the problem.

    Now they are happy. HAPPY, with the proper “structure” as Arteta has mentioned. So they are able to work harder for Arteta, who also knows what he is doing.

    Pepe is a good enough player to understand a system that works and one that makes no sense. Like other top players he is turned off when conceding Europe leading shots on our goal, while the ball is often lost on the way to the middle.

    So you can thank Ozil for telling Emery off, and then others like Laca standing up to Emery to get rid of Emery ball of conceding RECORD shots on our OWN goal.

  4. He needs to get into position in the opponent box frequently and not too wide if he wants to score more, we all saw his threat against manchester united

  5. I think the answer is pretty obvious really.

    MA is benefiting because he knows how to man manage, promote self belief, insist on his tactics being employed, knows what each player can do and plays to those strengths.

    I will always wonder what exactly happened to the file that UE had and that, supposedly, got him the position instead of MA in the first place.

    Yet another gaffe by gazidis, who has singlehandedly, brought our club to its knees.
    Of course there are others involved in some of the terrible decisions, but this man tops the lot.

    One just had to see the players and MA after the match against manure, to see what this coach has done. In just a few days, he has transformed the fans, the players and the club itself…of course he is benefitting, simply because of his own work.

    1. Oh KEN! how very much we can agree on the dreadful Gazidis! I honestly think he is the single most damaging employee Arsenal has ever had, at least in my time as a fan. I can think of no one who comes anywhere near him as a disaster that has set the club so far back in his decade here(approx). Not only was he a charletan and an accomplished liar to us fans, but he conned Wenger too in my view. The day we got rid of Dein was the blackest day in my time and the day we brought in Gazidis an equally black day. Two avoidable tragedies.

      As to the so called power point presentation UE supposedly presented to the board when he was appointed, it seems never to have occurred to anyone that he could speak no English and you might have thought that he would have been made to speak at least understandable English before having a hope of becoming manager. I initially rated him but had no idea how hopeless his futile attempts to learn English would be. Boy, was I wrong! WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! I don’t share the views of those fans who say it was a good thing he stayed at City an extra 18 months, to further learn from Guardiola, rather than coming instead of Enery. I see that as a wrong view and a wasted 18 months. He was ready then and he is reAdy now. THAT IS SO CLEAR!

      It seems almost unanimous on her that virtually all Gooners are excited by Arteta and just to listen to how he speaks and what he says with its obvious sincerity, clarity and single mindedness is a rare treat. No double talk, no half truths and no designed to con fan language . I presume he comes from a different species and a different planet than Gazidis!

      1. Jon, he conned everyone in my opinion, even up ti his departure.

        I’m sure you will remember how he kept the club on tenterhooks, regarding his making a decision on whether to sign a new contract? That, after he brought in the new regime, as he dubbed it, who, on the most part, have done absolutely nothing to take the club forward…except with the signing, finally, of MA.

        I was watching the “The History of Arsenal” on youtube and, apart from seeing the likes of Geordie Armstrong causing havoc etc etc David Dein was talking about AW…no need to go into that, but DD himself was so powerful in his love of the club and to think that gazidis took over from him, was atotal disaster.

        As for UE, along with Bruce Rioch in recent history, the position was just to big, the players to powerful and the fan base to confused with his tactics and explanations of them.
        Anyway, onwards and upwards with MA, as I said elsewhere on here, the biggest compliment I can give him is that he reminds me so much of AW when he first arrived…not only his professionalism, but his ideas, tactics and determination to do it his way.

        1. Ken I loved reading your post and it was of course, profoundly true. Why don’t you and I decare a truce now on Wenger and on Ozil too, as Wenger has gone and my own memories of his whole time here are affectionate ones, esp now that time has gone by and Emery too has come and gone. Ozil seems now to have gone back to being the player he was before and long may that remain. His quality has never been in doubt and when he, as with anyone else too, plays wholeheartedly,he will have my full support. We no longer have any reason to argue, do we my esteemed friend! BTW, whenever I come on this site I always look first at the recent posts to see if you have posted. I’m sure you know why!

      2. Why is speaking English necessary when you are managing a team full of internationals? What killed emery was his overconfidence in his ability to communicate his ideas. Poch had a translator for more or less 3yrs. Go to Japan and every player has their own translator in game and in training. I’m sick of this English speaking argument that every British pundit and fan is clinging to. His ideas, weren’t easy to implement and that’s because they weren’t suited for us, not his language.

        Take two people, one is a master of physics, the other a primary school science teacher, the primary school teacher could probably explain quantum physics to a set of children more readily than the master not because they have more knowledge but because they’re more able to help the kids grasp the concepts through not only their vocabulary but their ability to understand how children think. It’s why some youth coaches can’t make the jump upwards, why some no.2’s stay as no.2’s. Ever try putting on a children’s play? Your vision and what the children are able to understand and then do are always different.

        Most international players understand more than one language. Emery worked with French players, Spanish players, German players. In arsenal Torreira, Ozil, Ceballos, Bellerin, all understand Spanish or speak it, let’s not forget we are assuming how much Lacazette, pepe, Guendouzi understand English, most of the leagues best players probably spoken and understood very little English but thrived, years before football was the behemoth it is now. Emery also had assistants but with all the language in the world I reckon he wouldn’t be successful at arsenal as what he wanted was beyond the personnel he had and he couldn’t improve their football.

        Take torreira – plays him further forward to win the ball back higher, always focusing on the opponent rather than our own game. Torreira not being comfortable there and not told how to read the game that far forward, pick passes to create space and be effective becomes a very poor player overnight. AMN forced into RB but without instruction on how to be a RB, turns a promising player into one devoid of confidence and riddled with mistakes, openly saying he doesn’t want to be a RB as it’s not his game. Arteta comes along and changes the nature of the position to suit his abilities and helps him do what any midfielder likes to do which is influence the game by letting him drift inwards, pick passes ect, thus creating an effective RB that suits AMN’s qualities. Then most damning of all Emery drops Ozil but doesn’t figure out how he can make us creative without him. He tried to rid the team of the individual that creates space not with the ball but their movement off the ball to shift focus away from the attack or occupy spaces so someone has a passing option yet he couldn’t create a system where we didn’t need Ozil. He cut off his own nose to spite his face for what? To show him who’s boss?

        All these problems are nothing to do with a language barrier but more so with what Emery wanted which isn’t what the players neither enjoyed or responded to. Emery was always criticised for playing safe but boring football, always focusing on nullifying his opponent, that was an issue for our team and it is why he could win the EL as his football is more suited to cup competitions.

        Please stop this English speaking argument as it’s bedded in underlying racism. Not calling anyone here racist because I don’t think anyone is but the narrative surrounding it can give support to those who will use it as an argument that English speaking is inherently better when that isn’t the case in reality. Other than that I agree with the rest of your post

        1. Chabaloah, you write eloquently and make some excellent points in general. But I am bound to say that I feel your post has an underlying agenda. I accept that you say you are not calling anyone on here racist but you also say the lack of English argument is is “embedded in underlying racism”. I say that both of those contradictory statements cannot possibly be true. I also say that your post contradicts itself in your own correct assertion of why Emery failed. Most on here would concur with the very reasons YOU set out so well.

          My take is that there is no racism whatever in anti Emery comments and that it is completely obvious to almost all fans and to players alike that his man management skills were really poor, made far more difficult by his lack of language – which I SUGGEST IT WOULD BE SILLY NOT TO ACCEPT – and that, as you yourself say only too well, tactically he was out of his depth. When you are asking players to constantly do something out of their comfort zone then you are man managing them poorly, by definition. Surely?

          Further, as a theatre person, I am personally very experienced with working with young children in theatre and workshop rehearsals and communication is indeed made in very many ways. BUT TO UNDERPLAY THE IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING SPOKEN LANGUAGE IS TO DENY A CLEAR TRUTH. I could write far more, based on close personal experience but as a Brit and man fast closing in on my own 70th year, I can state that truth that racism on this site is exceedingly rare and I utterly reject your accusations of racism , whether “underlying” or overt, against Arsenal fans. The excellent Admins on here would jump on any racism and VERY rarely indeed, have needes to do so.

          You are plain wrong on THAT claim, my friend, even though you make your case well. Good writers, as you are,a have no more claim to truth than writers whose academic education may be more basic. Truth belongs to us all, irrespective of background, education, nationality or agenda.

          1. Jon, regarding your previous post, the only time I rise to AW criticism is if it’s not true!!
            I would love to move on and let his record speak for itself – as far as I know, no manager is without his faults and AW is no saint, that’s for sure.
            I guess the fact that he wanted MA to succeed him speaks volumes,wouldn’t you say?

            Had to decide not to go down for the game today (leeds) as my wife is not too well. Nothing serious, but I will have to watch it on TV instead!!

            As for being able to speak the language, I read that was one of the reasons Gary Neville failed out in Spain (for many others reasons as well, of course!!) and this was cited by the spanish media.
            I don’t remember anyone getting up in arms about it and trying to bring racism into the conversation…it does exist of course, but sometimes it’s used when there is no need to and before anyone says I have no experience about it, my grandson is of mixed race and proud of it.

            He is highly intelligent, a wonderful person and a source of great pride within our family, but suffers racism from knuckle headed morons of all races.
            He has never experienced it at our club, where he is a season ticket holder and, again, that is a source of great pride for both of us…doing it The Arsenal Way.

  6. Agreed with gotanidea based on the tendency rate of using his left foot always. His moves are now too known when he got the ball on him.

    As y’all can see, whenever he tries curling inside the opponents box; all of a sudden his been shielded with two players resisting him from using the left foot for whatever reasonable reason in has in mind.

    Goals like the one he scored against West ham’ was special and that’s the kind of goals he prompt to be scoring. I bet him to score it again and he might but, am sure not anytime soon.

    He needs to stick and often use his right foot to at least start putting confusion on some.
    Or maybe MA should start linking him up with midfield play. He might flourish more there.

    1. Hopefully he will continue to improve

      We have the foundation to have the best attack in the Premier League. We just need more creativity in midfield

      1. Pepe has just been given the chance to settle in by Emery and now Arteta, into what is a much tougher League than France. Arsenal are looking at the long term with Pepe, who will come good to reach his potential, provided he puts in the application and commitment. Raw talent is not enough in the EPL.

  7. The debate on whether or not we spent £72m on him instead of strengthening our defence is now history. There is no denying the boy is pure class and in my opinion under Arteta will develop into a world class player. For him it was purely a matter of lack of confidence under UE who didn’t seem to trust him enough to start a match. We have now seen what he can do given the opportunity. I look forward to him terrorising defences like Thierry used to. Has anyone seen a better left foot?

    Has anyone noticed how peaceful (relatively) and happy this site has become since Mikel took over after a horrible 18 months under UE?

    p.s. Well done Arsenal Women top of the WSL!!!

    1. Andrew, well said sir!!!

      Tonight’s game will be interesting as well, as I’m hoping he will play Pepe again – haven’t felt this positive for ages!!!

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