Is Pepe the next Arsenal star on Arteta’s hit list?

Is Pepe Next On Arteta’s Hit List? By Dan Smith

Pepe yet again has to hope that assisting and scoring in the Europa League will be enough to earn him a start in the Premiership. It didn’t work last week against Dundalk. A man of the match display wasn’t enough to get on the pitch at all at Old Trafford.

Arteta has shown he can be ruthless when he needs to be. From day one he said he has certain standards from each player, and if they don’t fit his ethos then too bad.

In my opinion, the midfielder had perhaps his best game as a Gunner in the FA Cup Final, setting up the winner, holding up the ball, winning free kicks and timing the correct moments to produce the fancy flicks. Yet instead of our record signing being allowed to take that momentum into this campaign, he didn’t start on the opening day of the season.

In fact he’s yet to start a single game in the Premiership this season which isn’t what you expect from someone you paid 72 million for. Our manager won’t be making that choice based on form, because as already mentioned Pepe was brilliant against Chelsea at Wembley.

So that has to mean in the short pre-season that the boss simply isn’t seeing the process he would like. While the Ivorian isn’t quite in the camp of Ozil and Sokratis in terms of they simply don’t suit his ethos, he might be starting to worry that his strengths simply don’t suit what Arteta is trying to build.

When the Spaniard was asked about the player a week ago, he almost didn’t want to reference the player’s pace or delivery. It was like those were assets he didn’t care about. Instead he focused on what the player doesn’t do consistently; timing his runs, knowing when to track back and help the full back.

One of the first things Arteta did when returning to the club was to organise them into a unit hard to break down. For that to work everyone needs to understand their jobs. At the moment, part of the process is sacrificing flair for hard work.

Our three forwards on Sunday were not clinical in the final third, but they all pressed and worked hard. It seems Pepe isn’t trusted to do that.

At the moment he’s like a luxury that Arteta would love to have in a couple of years but not at this stage.

At the Etihad, the likes of Sterling said his (then) assistant manager’s strength was getting the best out of talent on the training pitch. Yet he’s also shown he will only work with you to a point. If he feels you’re not going to fit into his vision he will let you know.

If you believe some rumours, there are players Arteta has simply told don’t have a future while he’s in charge, players who only stayed due to others not willing to match their wages.

Something tells me in training Arteta is keeping an eye on Pepe but how long will he give him?

Dan Smith

Tags Europa League Pepe


  1. Guys chill! Its just a europa league game against a team we’ve never heard off! Enjoy the win but Stop overhyping the players so you dont get slapped in the face by a reality check later on!

    1. Finally an appropriate response to a performance that was largely defined by too much sideways passing, two own goals and a glaring lack of ingenuity in the final third against an “inferior” opponent…far too often we get carried away when we get a result, which is somewhat understandable considering the manic disposition of our club for the better part of 10 years…until Arteta identifies his best 11 then devises a tactical plan which allows us to produce considerably more goals while still maintaining some defensive balance, we will continue to be a feast or famine type squad…like I expressed in an earlier post, it still confounds me that Willock appears to be our only midfielder that is encouraged to and/or allowed to constantly venture into our opponent’s box…albeit I have some issues with Willock’s overall game, this aforementioned observation makes me wonder what might happen if he was included in our starting 11 on the weekend and beyond, instead of Xhaka, in a 4-1-4-1

  2. I’m more concerned that when he receives the ball instead of being decisive he dithers then becomes surrounded by defenders and slowing down the play

    1. This aspect of Pepe’s game annoys the hell out of me(Arteta the most). He still doesn’t know when to apply efficiency or flair in his delivery.

  3. Sorry to be pedantic Dan but we play in the Premier League in England, not the Premiership which is in Scotland.

      1. Well said Declan
        I’ve always said Pepe’s correct position should be down the middle, he can dribble, has got serious pace and can shoot.

        Play him through the middle and you’ve got yourself a different beast.

  4. Before the Dundalk and Molde game I was stressing how Pepe needs a run of games too.
    No player would hit maximum form while being taken in and out of the team every time.
    Give Pepe the same run of games Ozil had pre lockdown and let him build his form.
    Though I understand the fact that Arteta isn’t taking risks with the league games because he’s already stressed on the issue of returning to the UCL.
    I just think Pepe deserves a run of games too

    1. Erm to be fair eddie. He is having a run of games. Whilst europa league is not the big stage he may want. He is playing consistently in Europe. If he was setting the world alight or doing something like willock he would have even right to ask for a fee starts in the prem. But he obviously needs work and I think he is next. In terms of arteta has sorted our defending mostly. Our central midfield seems to be his current project with different combos of elnany xaka psrtey and cebllos. Next I think the forward line. With lacca and pepe needing the work

  5. For now he deserves the spot in the Europa League team. I still believe he will improve cause he got talent

    1. Someone explain why pepea not playing, his talented when he plays scores or gets an assist, he needs games first team member,for his confidence

  6. I am now in peace with what Pepe is and not what he should be because of his price tag. It seems it was a bad purchase and I don’t expect him to suddenly become a top player otherwise he should’ve by now. He was wonderful in France but maybe the English League doesn’t suit his style.

  7. Despite the justifiable criticism of certain aspects of his play, Pepe proved he can finish with his well taken goal.Indeed is there any other Arsenal player on the pitch who could have converted so well?No the lad is a talent who just needs to be released from the straight jacket of being stuck on the right wing.In the next Europa Cup tie I would like to see him as the central striker flanked by Nelson on the right and Sam’s on the left.No disrespect to Nketiah, but we have to find a way of getting the best out of Pepe given the huge investment we made in him.There is absolutely no doubt that we paid way over the odds for him but many players have benefited from a change in position during their career and we should at least adopt a trial and error policy with Pepe in matches out with the Premier League.My views will not be universally popular and I would be pleased to hear any other constructive alternatives from fans of this site.

  8. Pepe is the second best finisher at arsenal, slightly behind aubamayang, we have to find ways to get him involved, I will take Pepe over Willian against Aston villa. And please arteta stop confusing the boy ,play him in the left side.

    1. Thanks Lenohappy. At least someone who understand. Pepe have been misused by Arteta which is confusing the boy who is loosing confidence sometimes. I must say that Pepe has a strong mindset otherwise he would have given up.

  9. If Pepe stands any chance he needs to play on the LW for a run of games. On the RW he tries about 17 step overs then 98% of the time will cut in and deliver a poor cross. Very predictable and gives the opposition time to get back and recover.

    He needs to run hard at the line and cut back on occasions, getting an early cross in either way.

    Seems the more he tries to impress, the worse he does.

  10. Not sure Arteta will bench Lacazette and Willian for the game against Aston Villa.

    Saka, Aubameyang, Pepe


    Elneny, Partey,

    Tierney, Gabriel, Holding, Bellerin,


    Not a bad line up agains Aston Villa but it is not looking likely.
    I want the same players that played against Man.U to play again on Sunday so we know if we have found our first 11.

  11. To all those praising Pepe, will you buy him today for half the amount he cost us?

    He is a decent player. Contributes to G/A but not a game changer. If you are finding it hard to win a big game (stress the word BIG), will you trust Pepe to change the game for you?

    As things stand, he is turning out to be our worst transfer business in a long time (and that includes Ozil’s new contract).

    When you shell out 72mil for a player, you expect nothing less than a game changing world class asset. But all we have seen till now is a mediocre slow thinking one dimensional player who loses ball far too often trying to over dribble.

    Yes he is providing goals and assists, but we really need to look at how many of those were in important games against a tough opponent and a game changing contribution.

    Considering everything, I put this question again to you. Will you buy him today for half the amount that he cost us? 36mill?

    It’s a resounding NO for me. Let me know your thoughts fellow gooners!

    1. AubaKedavra Morata was a flop at Chelsea but they still managed to sell him for the same price they bought him, same with Bakayoko, some fans like you said we will be lucky to get 7million for iwobi but we sold him for 40million, and Pepe stats is way better than all those players I mentioned.

      1. “will you buy him today for half the amount he cost us?”

        I don’t think you answered the question he asked..Would you?

      2. Everyone knows Everton got robbed of 40million for Iwobi. Selling Morata for the same amount bought and high price tag for Bakayoko just highlights how well Chelsea have been with their transfer business.

        All of them were terrific piece of transfer business. And none of these players justify their price tags.

        The same way Pepe doesn’t justify his price tag. What is your point again sir?

  12. Pepe, is the most talented player in our squad. His problems are, his right foot, his inability to take the easy option when it is available, he should be playing as a left winger only and he has lost his confidence. He still score more goals and assists than most, except auba. He make things happen but we all know, he can and should make more things happen. His problem is patience, not his the fans. We paid 72 mil for him and demand instant success, if we paid 36 mil for him, we would be saying, the lad needs time, he has abilty, good buy he will improve. The price tag, not his fault is holding him back. If there wasn’t a massive outlay, we would grant him time to develop, without expectation. Trouble is expectation is high because of.

    1. Reggie exactly I keep saying this, a player that was involved in 19 goals last season can’t be as bad as some are saying, this season already he has more goals and assist than most of our attacking players. The thing I don’t understand is why arteta keep changing his position, today left wing tomorrow right wing.

    2. How much time do you think he needs Reggie, the whole of his Arsenal contract? No denying he’s a good goal finisher but every other part of his game sucks. The difference between he and Auba is Auba is way more consistent with the goals, has higher pace, can single handedly carry the team, even though Auba’s overall game might not be a Mane or salah type, he still has better overall play than Pepe who’s other problem is being a one-legged player. Do you ever watch Pepe take a corner kick?.

      I also hate this notion that it is only when a player gets a run of games that he gets good, Elneny is living proof that that is a big fat lie, Martinez also proved it’s a big lie. There are basic things you can drill yourself on in training. Do the extra work to be extra ordinary. Sanchez was partly a bench warmer at barca. He got to Arsenal and put in extra work than anybody else, according to Chamberlain, he was the first player to come and the last to leave. Alot of the youth team said the same about Saka before he broke into the arsenal squad. He spent extra time with martinelli training. And like elneny, Martinez, saka, sanchez etc, when the opportunity came, they grabbed it with both hands and never let go.
      In as much as people say Pepe’s price tag doesn’t matter. I think it affects him alot.

        1. Not a thinking comment, is it MARK? To what factor do you attribute the “bias” you claim is against against him? His nationality, colour, accent? Since you choose not to say why you think there is bias against him!

          BALD AND EXPLAINED STATETMENTS, AS YOURS ARE , REEK OF TRUMPISM; lies repeated for effect , but without a shred of evidence or any attempt to explain why you say this untrue thing!


    3. Pepe isn’t worth 36m not in a million years!
      We bought a flop, its that simple!

      MA would never have signed him if he were in charge back then, we should have stumped up the cash to buy Zaha( who Emery actually wanted )

      But that is the past and now we’re stuck with him I highly doubt ( on his form since he joined us ) that we would make back anywhere near the money we are paying for him if we were to sell.

      @Reggie if you buy a new Ferrari do you not expect it to do what you bought it to do?

      Now, I know players need time to adapt but he’s had a season already to do so and its not as if THAT is his issue, his issue is himself.
      He gets tangled in his own legs, his decision making is poor, doesnt work hard enough in the press or tracking back.

      THAT is why he isnt playing in the premier league. Don’t get me wrong he scores good goals but until he manages to address his short comings, I can’t see him being a success at the club.

      1. Val read my post and its exactly that, we expect more because of his price tag. He didn’t set it and you are not right saying he wouldn’t be worth 36 mil, in this day and age thats peanuts. If we bought him for 36 mil, it wouldn’t have been too much and we could and would give him time to develop. He produces far more than Zaha, he did last year in the prem and that for obvious reasons is someone he is compared too. He scored more goals and more assists than him and this year he is second in our team in both those stats.

        1. I have read your post and thats why i said what i did.
          If he was a 20 year old, sure he needs time to develop but he’s not, he had a season to adapt, hes now 25 and gets tangled in his own legs like a kitten playing with wool.
          I know he has talent, im not disputing that at all.
          What I am saying is that he needs to address his short comings, in the MA system he needs to do more than just be the guy who scores goals.
          You just dont give time to develop players of his age, its adaptation only. Players coming into a team / club develop between 18-23, you tune your abilities with maturity from 23-27 and peak 27-32.

          In some ways it is about the money we paid and you have got to look at that, at that cost, when the club cant really afford him to be as inconsistent as he has been over the last 14-15 months is extremely poor imo.

          Now i’ve just looked on and he’s worth 36m according to that, so he’s lost half of his value on the price we paid IN A YEAR!
          I’m sorry but I cannot agree with your opinion on this matter.

          HE needs to pull his socks up mate!

  13. Everything Eddie, Lenohappy and Kstix say makes sense to me.
    This is one thing that MA has got wrong, playing Pepe on the right. One can see he is not comfortable and continually tries to cut in on his favoured left side.
    His goal last night was an example of his class and I hope he doesn’t become the next whipping boy, when, in my opinion, it’s MA who should be questioned.

  14. Although pepe scored last night he didn’t play well. I cant remember him taking on someone & getting past them. It looks like he has lost his flare. It’s a shame because I rate the guy, think he could simply amazing if he can be consistent.
    The problem for him is that Aubu is wide left, william seems to be top pick for Arteta & Saka is simply ‘undropable’.

    1. Didn’t he score and provide an assist off the left 10 mins after he was put there. What did Willian do?

      1. He set up willocks goal. So one gaol ona assist, who else did that last night? He is frustrating, he is inconsistent but he does produce.

  15. Is Pepe really any worse than Aubameyang? Pepe has scored 3 goals (1 in the EPL, 2 in Europa) and assisted 6 this season and Aubameyang has also scored 3 (2 in EPL, 1 in Europa) and 0 assists but no one is ranting against Aubameyang. All in all Pepe has been involved in more goals this season than the darling of the fans. The other thing most Pepe-critics don’t seem to take into account is that Auba has started started and finished every single EPL game this season while Pepe has started none and has only been getting an average of 20 minutes to Auba’s 90. On top of all that, Pepe usually does not even play in his strong position which is on the left wing but almost always finds himself shunted off to the right flank by the manager. Let’s get some perspective and cut the guy some slack while we start a campaign to lobby the manager to play Pepe in his strong position or, like PJ-SA says, play him as the central striker and lets see what he can conjure.

    And where the devil is Sue when you need her to defend poor Pepe? Seems to me a lot of people here listen to her more than anyone else.

  16. A question to you all, just for interest. If you had a choice against villa, who would you start and why Willian or Pepe? Either or.

  17. Thanks Lenohappy. At least someone who understand. Pepe have been misused by Arteta which is confusing the boy who is loosing confidence sometimes. I must say that Pepe has a strong mindset otherwise he would have given up.

  18. I didn’t watch the game last night because i promised myself that i won’t watch any arsenal game when kolasinac is in the starting 11 so i can’t say much about pepe’s performance

    1. go watch the spuds then you numpty!
      You aint no gooner with an attitude like that

      Kola actually played well last nigh apart from his miss!

      1. &why would i watch spud val?…for your information i only watch arsenal matches with keen interest,i only follow other team’s results or watch their highlights,kolasinac is so frustrating/annoying to watch so inorder to safe myself from being depressed by him i stopped watching any game he is involved in&thank God there are only few of such games lately

        1. Well mate, I like 99% of arsenal fans watch and support the team regardless of who is playing, that’s what it means to be a supporter

          16 played can take the field on UEL and you don’t support them because of 1?

          Kola played the beat I’ve seen him in at least a year last night

  19. Everybody saying Pepenis being misused or his strong position is LW, I’m sure you didn’t follow him at Lille or Cote D’ Voire. He has always been an inverted winger.
    His problem right now is he tries to do so much on the ball instead of keeping it simple. He over does his dribbling and has now become too predictable.
    Look at Salah, Mahrez and now Ziyech, you know they would cut in to cross or shoot but its still difficult to stop them bcos they run things quick.
    Football is brain before legs.

  20. Pepe is a good player, doing his job well when he is not under pressure such as EL games. In the PL games with the big names around him, he will be lost and we can barely see him passing or doing his magic.

    I feel that he is growing to become something with Willock and Nilsson around him more than Laca and Auba. And if you focus on him guys, he’s always doing better when he has enough space and not restricted to play only in one side leaving the space to other players such as Laca or Auba.

  21. Every team need requires much make, Pepe is one such a rare prototype. We are failing to put him to a good use.

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