Is it too late for Pepe to prove his worth to Arsenal?

Nicolas Pepe on my mind By Sylvester Kwentua

When Nicholas Pepe was being pursued by Arsenal with the intention of signing him two seasons ago, he was red hot in the French league where he was plying his trade then. He was so impressive that even non Arsenal fans felt Arsenal was going to sign a world class winger, who also has an eye for goal. Two seasons later, the whole football planet seems to be waiting for this talented gentleman to show the stuff he is really made of, even though he has shown us flashes of his potential in a few games he has played.
Nicolas Pepe may not totally be at fault for his form in the Premier League, but then who can be blamed? Nobody really can be blamed, but I feel a great lot of pity for my brother from Africa, Pepe. Why do I pity him this much? Ride on with me please.
For starters, Pepe was brought to Arsenal to give the team the much needed bite from the wings, which has been missing several seasons before Arsenal even thought of bidding for him. He came to a big club, carrying along a bigger responsibility. A responsibility that was probably too early for him to bear in his Arsenal career. We all know how talented players have been crushed in the past, by the weight of big responsibilities, right? Since we agree on the weight of responsibility crushing certain players, do we then agree that Pepe may be facing the same weight? Well in Pepe’s case, he has not been totally crushed yet, but he has taken time to adjust to this huge responsibility! He sure needs to step up and get counted among those who fought their ways into relevance, and he needs to do that now.
Another reason why I feel pity for Pepe, is because I know that even if he starts being consistent, it may be a little too late to save his Arsenal’s career. With the emergence of talented wingers like Bukayo Saka, Martinelli and playmakers like Odegaard and Smith-Rowe, Arteta may feel he has enough skillful and attacking players who are delivering on a steady basis to choose from, thereby limiting Pepe to sporadic appearances. Not looking good for Pepe right?
However, I will like to add here that Pepe’s career is not yet over at Arsenal, and an improved attitude towards matches and a little consistency from him, may as well give Arteta room for thought.
So guys, what advice do you have for Nico? We are Arsenal and proud.
Sylvester
Tags Pepe

37 Comments

  1. SouthAfriGunner says:

    Didn’t Pepe have good numbers last season?

    1. Mark says:

      He had ten league goals, although half were in a purple patch in the last five games.

  2. gotanidea says:

    He still has time till the end of this season, because Saka isn’t productive either

    If Saka always starts ahead of him, he might be replaced by another tall left-footed attacker. We’ve heard rumors about Dusan Vlahovic and Dejan Kulusevski

    1. Eddie says:

      Saka has been responsible for most of driving runs leading to goals for us.
      Just because he doesn’t get the final assist doesn’t mean he’s struggling.
      He’s mostly involved in our goals

      1. gotanidea says:

        Yes, Saka won us many free-kicks and good for linking up. But if the rumors about tall RWs like Asensio and Kulusevski are true, Arteta might want to give him a stronger competitor or play with a different tactic

  3. Adajim says:

    He has enough time to prove himself, he need to work on his decision he has potential to be top top player but he is becoming too predictable that’s why he is struggling, if he could work on that and become more dynamic, not cutting back always, he would be menace for defenders.
    Despite Saka drop in form, I wouldn’t drop Saka for him because IMO Saka efficiency on and off the ball is way better than Saka and Emi on the right atm , it’s a good problem for the coach tbh and I love that , maybe that could help Pepe rediscover his french league form, 15goal a season and a couple of assist from him will be a brilliant season

    1. John Shush says:

      He is not a starter. He never has been a starter. He can emulate his form in France if he never plays 10 games in a row!

  4. John Shush says:

    He *cannot emulate

  5. Reggie says:

    It seems rather churlish of some people who pull Pepe down when his goal and assist tally are so impressive compared to our more lauded players like Saka and ESR. He contributes to attacks far more than any other player in our team and get articles that are so way off the mark and total fabrication as to what he actually brings to the team. Yes he is frustrating at times and he loses possession but he tries more dribbles than any other player in the team. Last season he had something like 21 Goals and 24 assists and was classed a failure by some. I wonder sometimes!!!!!!

      1. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever says:

        such a predictable maneuver Admin…your inherent biases when it comes to editing have now predictably extended themselves into the realm of “fact checking”

        1. Admin Pat says:

          Obviously you have no interest In facts then? What a strange thing to complain about, but then again I’m used to you arguing with anything I write….

          But okay I’ll bite. How is stating facts showing inherent bias?????

          1. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever says:

            It’s not about stating facts, as I’m all about the facts, but it’s when you strategically choose to interject yourself into the equation…I find it very difficult to believe that you didn’t understand the tenor of my previous message

            1. Admin Pat says:

              Eh? I thought I was answering Reggie. Okay now I’m flummoxed!

          2. Reggie says:

            Total goals and total assists. Not just prem league, he didnt play in the prem for the first 3 months because Wilian was picked ahead of him. I never said league, you quoted league.

  6. Frank says:

    For me pepe is more productive than Saka and ESR and odegah but because he was not signed by our manager any time he had a bad game he is benched. Compare with the three players irrespective of their performance they keep getting consistent run in the team. Give pepe the same consistent run and let evaluate For me he is better than Saka ESR and odegah

  7. Jude Orpheus Mannaseh Dadzie says:

    Ok, why feel sorry for a guy who gets paid a lot of money to kick a ball, and is being shown up by a pair of 20 year olds. Frankly,Sir Alex had a Pepe or Bebe problem that boy was shining in the some low league team. Saw he was shit and sold him off Let’s group Pepe is shit so is Martinelli and balogun over hyped it they we legit arteta would be having them play.

    1. Davi says:

      That was a relatively cheap buy that didn’t work out and we’ve at least seen flashes of what Pepe can do. Would not be surprised to see Pepe still having s strong career but agree it probably won’t be here and he should move on

  8. Davi says:

    Pepe puts up decent numbers but too often ruins our attacks by making slow and, too often, poor decisions. This gifts the ball to the opposition too often and promotes counter attacks on our defence.
    By comparison, Saka does tend to make better decisions, which helps us keep momentum and helps us keep pressure on the opposition, rather than on our defence, even if he scores and assists less overall (currently).
    I do like Pepe, he’s extremely talented imo, but he needs a lot of direction and/or a team that plays more to his strengths. If he focused on being more direct, he could be a genuine 72m player, but I think the moment has gone at arsenal, and it would be better for all if he got a fresh start somewhere else.

  9. Mark says:

    His biggest problem is that Saka and Smith-Rowe are in stellar form but we have no European games. The squad will be stretched over the next couple of months with Xmas games and league cup fixtures, Pepe and a few others like Maitland-Niles will get a chance to shine.

  10. Lenohappy says:

    I still don’t get why some fans always critize Pepe everytime, Pepe stats are much better than saka and Smith combined. It’s not his fault that the club paid 72million for him, in my own opinion,Pepe is still the best RW we have, some of the blame should also go to the coach, I remember how Havertz was struggling under lampard but he’s one of Tuchel best scorer now, he even scored the winning goal for them in the champions League final, I’m sure if Pepe plays under a coach like pep or kloop, he would have improved more than this.

    1. Eddie says:

      Wait what? Havertz is one Chelsea’s best scorers?
      How many goals and assist does he have for the transfer fee that was paid for him?
      Someone basically who plays the same position Pepe does.
      In a three behind the striker, for him it’s two behind the striker.
      He’s going unnoticed because the whole team’s been great and it’s hidden.
      In 61 appearances, he has just 13 goals and 11 assists.
      This season, in 16 appearances he has 4 goals 2 assist.
      ESR in 13 appearances this season has 5 goals 2 assists.
      Some great goalscorer he is indeed.
      Put Havertz in this Arsenal team or United’s team with all his contribution at Chelsea so far and he’ll be considered a flop by you and rest the world, which exactly is way he is.
      A premier League flop.
      Pepe’s numbers are way better than his and the same thing can be said about Sancho who the English media keeps pretending doesn’t exist

    2. Beliver says:

      That’s is absolutly correct!
      It’s about who is the best manager for Pepe!
      A new manager could Get Pepe to be a STAR PLAYER !!

  11. Joe. S says:

    Has never really convinced me, even during his purple patch. Yes, he can pull something out of the box, usually after you’ve already torn what remains of your hair out but Mr consistent is not his middle name. At his price he should be a spearhead driving fear and drawing fouls from the opposition, but too often he is drawn into a corner or easily dispossessed. I don’t think it would be a bad thing if he were sold at half the price provided the money were wisely spent on a player who could comfortably slot in with the youngsters and help take some of the pressure off them.

  12. jon fox says:

    I am with what I judge as a majority of Gooners on JA who are less than satisfied with Pepe in overall contribution. He has scored somegood goals but to be overall effective you need to stop losing possession so OFTEN and be more reliable and dynamic.
    He is unreliable ,inconsistent and for the stupid amount Raul Sanllehi – for it was he- pushed Kroenke to pay for him, he has been, for that money , a major disappointment.

    He is not without some talent and that is clear, BUT it is what you do with that talent and do with it consistently and reliably that makes you a top player, OR NOT, as is the case with Pepe.

    I confidently predict and much hope he will be elsewhere, sometime next summer and our £72 mill paid will have been largely wasted. Sigh!

    1. Weeble says:

      Problem is Pepe was signed as a winger. He is not a winger his skill set screams center forward.

      1. jon fox says:

        Weeble, No it does not. He is far too lackadaisical, not hard working, nor dynamic enough AND too easily dispossessed, to ever be an effective striker.

  13. Grandad says:

    Unless he is played as a conventional left winger, Pepe will continue to fall short in terms of being an effective team player.The fact that he finds it difficult to maintain possession and link with others is an aspect which I cannot see him overcoming.On the other side of the coin, he has improved his work rate and I cannot fault his attitude.It’s not his fault that an incompetent member of our senior Management convinced our Board to sanction a fee of 72m for him.Thankfully the guilty party is no longer an employee.

    1. John Shush says:

      I do like Pepe on the LW way more. It’s hard to build consistency when he’s not in the team consistently. I think there is a player in there, but we probably won’t get to see him at Arsenal (unfortunately).

  14. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever says:

    I strongly believe that both Pepe and Marts should get a shot in that sort of tucked in behind position that we’ve seen Laca play in recent matches…they have more pure scoring abilities than anyone else up top, minus Auba of course, so they should be playing in more centrally located spaces, in and around the box, and not left out wide with the ball at their respective feet for far too long, against multiple defenders

    1. I says:

      Laca is playing there because of the way he fights for the ball at the middle. He is a nuisance to opponents.

      Pepe and Martineli can’t do that. They don’t Laca’s kind of ball shielding abilities. Odegard is more suitable for that position because of his pressing and passing abilities but for his drop in form. Laca is a makeshift there. Pepe needs to work on his final decisions. That’s the major part of his game that is letting him down.

      1. Davi says:

        Spot in except I’d say Laca is also very good to bounce the ball off for 1-2s and that sort of thing. Where he’s lacking is when the play is ahead of him and he needs to play a weighted through ball – that’s where Odegaard excels, but I think we’ve been playing him too deep and not to his strengths

      2. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever says:

        I’m refraining from responding at length, as I’m currently in a JA probationary period, but needless to say you obviously haven’t fully understood the tactical changes that have taken place in recent weeks

  15. RSH says:

    people focus way too much on output and Pepe’s output isn’t even that good. It’s espescially doesn’t make up for the 99 times he loses possession every game. Saka progresses our play more than any of our other attackers and can actually keep the ball. Easy choice as to who starts

  16. Break-on-through says:

    Problem with Pepe is, he too easily gets knocked off balance, sometimes it looks his own doing. I’d like to tell him to beef up a bit but not sure if that would help. More direct like others have highlighted, and with a stronger frame, and stronger legs, I’d like to see him give that a go. Time is running out, you feel, even though his goal tally is similar to Laca, surely he feels this himself.

  17. Cj says:

    Time to jettison our record signing

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