“His football intelligence looks short” Alan Smith doesn’t expect Arsenal ace to get better

Alan Smith isn’t confident that Nicolas Pepe has much more to offer as the winger continues to struggle at Arsenal.

Pepe signed for the Gunners in the summer of 2019 and his poor performances last season were excused because it was his first campaign in England.

However, the attacker hasn’t done any better this season, and it seems that there is not much more he can truly do.

He had an amazing last season with Lille in the French Ligue 1, and Arsenal signed him with the hopes that he would replicate that form with them.

But he hasn’t taken off yet and Smith says this is his second campaign, he should be doing better because he is now used to some of his surroundings.

Asked if he still expects Pepe to prove his worth to Arsenal, Smith told Stadium Astro: ‘I’m not so sure, he’s in his second season now so it’s not as if he’s still adapting to a new country and league.

‘He’s one of those players who can produce a bit of magic, cut inside and find the top corner. But on other occasions his football intelligence looks short. 

‘It’s not as if he had been tearing up trees for a long period in France. You can throw the transfer fee at him but that’s not his fault. 

‘The fact remains he’s a big signing and they spent a lot of money on him. If they were to sell him now they would make a huge loss, so that’s another problem.

‘They’ve got rid of the Ozil problem but they are still saddled with the Pepe and Willian problems.’

Pepe’s poor performance in the match against Southampton may see him struggle to get chances in the Arsenal first-team again for the foreseeable future.

Tags Alan Smith Nicolas Pepe


  1. The way we run our players down, do we really expect them to do well while on the pitch? This is becoming too much.

  2. The only silver lining to come from the shocking waste of £72mill hastily thrown away on Pepe is that surely now MA will not use him again, unless in dire injury crisis.
    This total waste , plus the waste of Willians obscenely unearned wages for three years, is rank amateur running of a club and both those damaging players need to be got rid of, ASAP, albeit at a great loss.

  3. He is intelligent football wise but he is stereotype style and being predictable and trying to dribble too much make him inhabited football wise .if I were in MA SHOES I will drill home to shoot for at least half an hour very training session .for him to be effective to come inside and split defenses and perhaps shoot bell Erin and some body else should move wide and forward to drag defenders ,perhaps should not dribble through too many players and pass the ball before too many dribbles will boost his confidence .another idea I would use home as a number (10) sometimes where he can thread the ball to an attacker ,he should be made versatile enough to adapt otherwise to continue to be a sterptype Would render him ineffective .re role the guy somehow

  4. ……and I fully agree with Alan Smith, I said it months ago that Pepe is mid table level at best ( sadly,that’s where we are at the moment), it may sound harsh, but it’s the simple truth, people keep talking about talent,guess what, all pro footballers got talent, but there levels, and if we are truly aspiring to be a top level side again, Pepe can’t make the cut.

  5. For Pepe to have any chance of making an impact at Arsenal, Arteta must play him on the left side of the pitch.Unless he does ,P epe will continue to disappoint, that’s for sure.He may not be any better on the left, but having spent 72m ,every avenue must be explored,starting on the training ground.

    1. There’s a couple obvious concerns with him playing on the left, not only would it require us to take minutes away from Auba, Marts or Saka, in order to do so, and it would likewise mean that he would be resigned to the role of a facilitator and we already have that covered with Tierney…the fact is the only thing we really need from Pepe is some secondary scoring, as we’ve relied on Auba too much, a fact that has become glaringly clear during his poor run of form…I would suggest just trying him up top once, especially considering how little we get from Eddie anyways and the fact that it appears our club is going to shit the bed with Balu…he does have some skills with his left foot, but it requires too much of him to actually get into a viable shooting position when his out wide right, so maybe just maybe he could produce more when he’s not expected to dribble so much…just a thought

  6. To those up there 🖕🖕who says ‘we run our players down’,,..
    U guys should remember that they are on a high wage,, getting fat paychecks every week and purchasing/cruising on Lambos e.g.Aubameyang..
    Why then can’t we demand that they give 💯 percent performance??
    About Pepe, he is actually the worse player@Arsenal!! Can’t control, dribble, shoot or even pass accurately.
    Years ago, we slammed Gervihno, Walcott, Ramsey, Oxlade Chamberlain,, saying they were runners without much football brain..
    But even Gervihno is 100x better than Pepe.
    Then we also have ineffective players such as Ceballos, Willian, Willock, Nketiah, etc
    Can’t we be truthful about them??
    I watched Man City yesterday!! Saw Mahrez, Ferran Torres, Foden, Gabriel Jesus, Fernandihno playing@a high quality!! Let’s be honest, please!!

  7. We seem to be missing the other side of the coin.
    It is the job of the team managers to make the best use of players at their disposal. Money for new players is always in short supply, everywhere.

    Although I did not personally agree with the decisions to acquire Willian or Pepe, I do not think we have done enough to get the best out of the two players. Willian, at this point in his career, should not be used as a regular starter; and Pepe should not be used solely as an inverted winger. He more effective and less predictable when used across the front – left and center throughout the game.

    We just can’t keep throwing good money on average players and keep throwing the owner under the bus for not spending more.
    This is not sustainable.

  8. Alan Smith is pretty much on the money here. I can’t see a way out for Pepe. His speed and other natural attributes are not working for him. At the same time he is not a very good reader of the game to put it politely. Does he have the will to prove his critics wrong? Mmmmm!!!

  9. Yes and no, Pepe is a good player. However, Arsenal has become a team that just buys players without considering whether those are the right players or not. The acquisition of Willian didn’t make sense and still doesn’t to this day, Pepe is good but not for the money we got for him, and he strikes me as a player that needs support from the middle for him to produce and we still don’t have a number 10 that can control the game to allow wingers to cut in and dribble etc. When we had Ozil he was expected to drop back cause we didn’t have a Partey and a strong center back causing him to become inconsistent. We can compare with other EPL teams buy they buy players they need not for the sake of buying.

  10. Truth must be told. Pepe is dumb. He is not a threat to any defence because he has only one dribbling move which all defenders are aware of, so dispossessing him is no big deal to them. He has no brains for final third passes. Why Arsenal preferred him to Zaha is still a mystery. Utter waste of money!

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