Is it time for Arsenal to try Pepe as our centre-forward?

Arsenal shocked many in January by failing to bring in a striker but still chose to give Aubameyang to Barcelona.

It feels hard to believe that Arteta, with a straight face, can suggest Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah can provide the fire power to make top 4 when the evidence suggests the opposite.

He’s just watched us go 4 games without a goal. Once a stat not associated with the Gunners, now accepted.

Our manager is not a silly man. He knows what fans want to hear, the little soundbites to tickle Gooners with.

The Spaniard is fully aware of the limitations regarding his last two senior forwards still standing.

He either simply is aware his employer cares more about slashing the wage bill and is content on the club making revenue off the brand they are.

Or he’s got something up his sleeve?

They say doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. The 38-year-old was at the City Ground and the Emirates in the Carabao Cup and Burnley in the Prem, enough times to learn he can’t rely on Laca and Eddie to get us back in the Champions League.

So, what are his other options?

I do think the 38-year-old needs to start learning that part of coaching is to get the best out of the resources he has. Now could be that time.

Martinelli and Pepe are the only two options that can be alternatives.

The irony being that both have had spells where they have not been utilised how they would like.

Martinelli is one of the bright hopes for the future.

He’s fearless, direct, not afraid to take on his man.

He’s admitted the need to time his runs, to persevere his energy and there is no reason if he’s in the middle why he can’t switch to the wings.

Pepe has the obvious pace to play on a defender’s shoulder although he can be erratic in the final third.

He hasn’t started in the League since November and seems another player slowly being frozen out.

Yet if he’s here till the summer at least why not use him?

We scored once this year; it can’t hurt to try something fresh.

Pepe has to take responsibility though.

If given that chance he needs to show the motivation of someone who wants to save his career in England.

We spent a record amount on the winger to make a difference in the big moments, not watch from the sidelines.

Thierry Henry, Touré, Lauren, etc. There are many Gunners who became legends by learning a new position.

We might need that to happen again to finish 4th

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Tags Martinelli Pepe strikers


  1. Arsenal are in the top 4/5 mix without any contribution from Pepe thus far. Odegaard Saka ESR and Martinelli have become our goal scoring mainstay. Pepe has enormous potential so is really like a LANS.
    Arsenal will probably start with Odegaard Saka Lacazette and either Martinelli or ESR. That means Pepe/Nketiah will be the attacking sub options or injury options for the attack. Because the club chose not to bring an attacking option even on loan with so much at stake they must surely be confident that Pepe and Nketiah are capable of doing a job from the bench and as starters especially if injury strikes. Its an exciting gamble full of possibilities

    1. Mediocre firstt touch at best.
      His dribbling is fine technically, but very ineffective usually, not being the right decision most of the times.
      And given his lasyness, he will be a poor striker.

  2. Mediocre firstt touch at best.
    His dribbling is fine technically, but very ineffective usually, not being the right decision most of the times.
    And given his lasyness, he will be a poor striker.

  3. Pretty sad that after all this time, suddenly they are hoping Pepe might be a centre-forward. That shows nobody has any idea what is going on. 2 years of Arteta and we have come to this. Mickey Mouse stuff all down to a poverty struck transfer window.

    1. Idk what you mean, we bid big for Vlahovic, it didn’t work out. I’m sure we tried with other options too but trust there’s a good reason we didn’t finalise anything. I’d rather finish 7th with no strikers then finish 7th with a new 💩 striker that’s not really going to complete the team.

  4. Might as well sell him, Sergeant Ouster doesn’t like players that need actual coaching….standard for cheque book managers.

    Every fan here knows Pepe needs coaching and guidance. He has amazing ability.

  5. I honestly don’t understand this, yet another expensive player languishing on the sidelines. Given that he hasn’t started a game since last November why wasn’t he moved on and replaced in January? Quite what the thinking is behind the scenes baffles me or, is he another one falling out with the management? Whatever it is it’s been a costly business for the club, first Ozil then Auba and now, possibly, Pepe. Three of the biggest player investments our club has ever made.

    1. Pepe’s record last season with goals and assists was deserving of more opportunities this season. Why he wasn’t given any by Arteta is one of life’s and Arsenal’s great mysteries.

  6. I uswd to enjoy almost all of DANS PIECES.

    BUT OF LATE, HIS RELENTLESS NEGATIVITY has made me find him boring, always saying much the very same thing over and over again.

    In this refreshing piece, he appears to have found his one time ever present balance and what a difference THIS article is, as a result.

    I believe a number of we Gooners have wondered why we have not yet tried either Pepe or Martinelli as central striker, nor Pepe on his natural left side.

    1. Given your usual acerbic wit Jon I was a bit surprised that you didn’t add Dan’s “definition of insanity” words back at him on your second paragraph, bit of an Auba open goal miss there mate

      On topic, I believe that Pepe will still play an important part this season and yes that could be in that position for certain games if that’s what the Manager thinks is the right thing to do, Pepe’s a good player

      Meanwhile shout out to Mo Elneny for tonight

      1. FF, like so many others you have me totally wrong. I judge on the individual piece and do not hold grudges.
        YES, there ARE a number of people on here whose intellect I cannot respect, but DAN IS DEFINITELY NOT among them.

        My general beef with DAN is that, as a bright man he lets his own personal bias overcome his intellect on his anti MA stance.

        A proper writer sticks to reasoned and above all BALANCED facts and then gives his/her opinion based upon them. Many of Dans statements reek of sheer personal bias, which detract from his quality of writing.

        He is a actually FAR better than that and SOMETIMES lets himself down, IMO.
        This article was less brittle and more balanced and so I said so .
        FF, in my life, I am so honest, often brutally,as I freely admit but I loathe and detest deliberate distortions and misrepresentations, which give a deliberate wrong picture.

        When that happens, as it often does, I call it out. Though you canot possibly know this, I am also ruthlessly critical of myself in most things I ever do.

        It is certainly true that I do not suffer fools gladly – as distinct from folk whose written education may be lacking but whose brain works well – and I genuinely try to be kind and compassionate to all who can bother to think before writing, irrespective of whether or not I concur with their comments, and whose personal circumstances may be less fortunate than my personally lucky ones.

        So much in life starts with how and in what circumstances we are born and grow through childhood.

        Billions of poor unfortunate people across our globe are admirable but live in ghastly circumstances and have little or even no control over how their lives pan out. Sigh!
        We who claim to be decent souls should never forget their plight.

        It helps greatly to remember our priorities in life and that football, important as it is to us all, is way down that list of things that TRULY matter.

        1. Not sure what happened there, I didn’t recognise those words in that order relating to my first post that was just an observation with an attempt to add a bit of whimsy but it obviously didn’t land that way, sorry about that, there was no intent on my part to upset anyone at all never mind as much as it seems have done

          It was just a preamble into my supportive Pepe comment to be honest and an opportunity to show my support for an Arsenal player playing tonight

  7. I wonder why you fans complain so much,

    How long had Aubameyang been used, yet no result,
    How long has Pepe been used and coached, yet no result,

    What then do you fans want?

    Personally I would still try Pepe as a 9/8, if he doesn’t perform, he’s out,

    He’s a great player but he needs to put more energy, reduce he’s dribbles and maybe focus more on shooting and passing,

    He just might become the Sterling we need.

      1. Except it is not valid in respect of Pepe, whose record for goals and assists for minutes played, was quite good.

  8. Short answer is no, Pepe should be used as a back up to Saka coming in off the right side. Martinelli should be developed as our main centre forward, ESR coming in off the left, Ode in the number 10 role linking play, Partey and Lokonga in the middle of the park. Finally after many years I can say the back 4 picks itself and GK is sorted too. 3rd position in league is the target for this season and push for 1st/2nd next season. It’s doable and I’ve heard it all before that you can’t win anything with kids, absolute nonsense. You can not only win with kids but you can dominate for years. Come on Arsenal 💪

  9. Lacazette and Nketiah seem to be leaving, whereas Pepe still has a couple of years in his contract

    So we’d better try him there, since he’s decent aerially and a left-footed attacker. If he fails, we could always reinstate the other CFs

    1. Overrated player. How we thought he was even worth 72m is above me. If I could call him not being as good before he kicked a ball for us how didn’t our club staff with more expertise see this?? It was clear his individual game would be exposed in the EPL and that is why people see inconsistent dribbling poor decision making and the like. This can even be said about Aubameyang that beyond stats he doesn’t offer much. On another front I hope we don’t miss out on Djed Spence. I have followed him after our match and realized he was already good and could actually be one of the best RB’s when he comes to the EPL. He’s been bossing it this season.

      1. Wenger, Gazidis and Kroenke should’ve known that many of Pepe’s goals for Lille are produced from penalties and he didn’t perform well in AFCON before we bought him. But we have invested a lot of money in him, so we’d better give him one last chance in the CF position

        I just watched Djed Spence once and he seemed eager to impress Arsenal in that match. Our decision makers should’ve done their due dilligence before buying him, to avoid another flop

        1. Pepe as a CF is not it. Arteta wants the CF to combine with midfield and Lacazette is more suited to that role. If I had my own way Nketiah would be starting more often. Its a shame he wants to leave. I can see that had he been given the same chances as Lacazette or Aubameyang this season he would’ve done much better. From the start of preseason he looked much different than last season. When he finds himself in the right team he will score lots of goals like he does for the England U21’s

          1. Nketiah wants to go. We need players who are committed to the cause.

            I wish we can buy Asensio and Gnarby in the summer and move Martinelli to the CF role. Pepe/Martinelli for the number 9 role.

            Gnarby, Saka, Asensio, ESR. 4 options for the wide roles.

            More creativity is needed upfront.

            I am not giving up on Pepe yet. He needs a new role in the team.
            Lacazette, Xhaka and Nketiah have to be moved on in the summer.


            3 important signings the club should make in the summer.

          2. I agree, but we have to look for a way to add Pepe’s goals to the team,
            If Pepe plays as a No8, our midfield might be porous, but he’s a 75% chance of scoring once in the 18yard box, so I think he should play in front of Lacazette, with Martinelli and saka on both sides, Ødegaard and Smith-Rowe come in the 2nd half to retain our high pressing .
            This way our midfield is stronger, we’ll what do I know, I’m just a fan.

        2. Spence was already as good before the Arsenal match. The only thing is that was the first time we saw him. I have checked him out and even watched him a bit in the Championship. We should not miss out on the chance to get him.

      2. Great comment on Jed Spence. Alas, I fear the ship has sailed on us signing him as he has continued to produce brilliant displays and other EPL squads with cash to spare would pick him up at the end of the season. while we have to wait until Cedric is offloaded.

  10. Whatever I said in previous threads about Djed Spence having one good game against us and how silly it was to want to buy him, blah, blah, blah…

    Clearly I have no idea what I’m talking about. What a player!

  11. Yes we desperately need Pepe’s contribution more than ever if we want to achieve top4.

    Pepe can probably be used in any of the 4 attacking positions, Arteta’s gonna have to find the right formula

  12. Did anyone watch the Kidderminster v West Ham game yesterday. I know it we have plenty of defenders but Matt Preston was phenomenal. He looks like the type of player that would give his all whether he was playing Sunday league or the premiership.

    Okay, might’ve been a one off as I don’t watch Kidderminster at all but I had no reason to believe that the way he played yesterday….the composure, commitment, passion and authority he demonstrated. He could not be an unhidden gem. He reminded me of the old type of defender we used to see from div 1. No airs and graces, just getting down and dirty as if your life depended on it and doing an outstanding job to boot. Hopefully if he was ever courted for the premier League….he would retain his humility and not develop the airs and be a sudden celebrity like some players are when plucked from obscurity.

    Anyways, this has nothing to do with Dan’s article and apologies for the interruption

  13. I want Arteta to try pepe as a striker..but I prefer pepe plays freely and not micro-managed………..I like Wenger’s way….he allowed his players to express themselves in the opposition half…….I think the team will score goals with Pepe as centre forward cos he is quick we will attack more through the middle………just my opinion…

    1. Football tactics have changed, the last Euro and AFCON tournament showed this clearly,
      If you play the Wenger way, you’ll get caught a lot on the counter,

      This is one of the reasons slot of players are becoming obsolete, especially with coaches that understand the changing trends,

      Pepe could give us more goals if used as CF but could also make our midfield very weak,

      So Arteta would have to look for a way to incorporate Lacazette deeper, he would make our midfield stronger and more conducive for Pepe to flourish.

      Just my thoughts.

  14. pepe has the playing brain of a ten year old in a mans game. i dont believe,for one moment, that he will ever produce, way too childish, and the rush of blood kills his game.

    1. Gerry, look at his record last season; Pepe has already produced compared to other players in Arsenal’s squad.

    2. excellent assessment of Pepe.
      His overall stats paper over his extremely poor decision making in the final 3rd and his poor positioning.
      His lack of football maturity is the reason Saka starts ahead of him despite the fact that he is a better dribbler, finisher and set-piece taker than Saka.

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