There has been enough column inches given to the ridiculous events surrounding Gabriel Martinelli’s red card in the win against Wolves, but could his minute of madness be of benefit to Nicolas Pepe?
The Ivorian winger has only made 5 starts for the Gunners this season, and his only appearance since October was in the League Cup game against Sunderland (in which he scored one of our goals).
But surely he must be in Mikel Arteta’s plans as the boss has a much-reduced squad for the rest of the season. Pepe has proved his fitness after playing in 5 games at AFCON with the Ivory Coast (and scoring in 2 of the 3 games that he was a starter).
Arteta admitted before AFCON that Pepe was unhappy with his game time when the Boss told the Mirror: “With the way he’s training and performing he deserves more minutes regardless of what happens with any other player,[Aubameyang].
“We are trying really hard [to keep him],”
“[His] contract has an expiry date and you can’t control that. His genuine intention is that he wants to play football and that’s what’s driving whatever decision he’s going to take.
“But he’s obviously a player we want to keep and we will continue to do our best to keep him.”
So the game against Brentford is Arteta’s chance to prove that he really wants Pepe to stay at Arsenal, because if he is left on the bench again for the whole 90 minutes against Brentford, then it is only going to increase the frustration of the 26 year-old.
If so, I can’t see him staying at Arsenal past this coming summer, can you?
WATCH – Mikel Arteta discusses the Wolves win and Arsenal’s red cards