Mikel Arteta urged to try a different approach with Nicolas Pepe

Former Arsenal player, Adrian Clarke has offered Arsenal some tips on how to make better use of Nicholas Pepe

Pepe joined the Gunners over the summer and he is currently the club’s record buy, however, he has struggled to justify the huge transfer fee he commanded.

The Ivorian scored 23 goals for Lille last season and there was a scramble for his signature, however, he has struggled to prove his worth this campaign and Mikel Arteta is still looking for the best way to get consistent top performances from him.

Clarke, who came through the ranks at the Gunners’ academy, has offered a piece of advice to Arteta about how to get the best from the winger.

Clarke advised Arteta to switch the player’s flank and try him on the left-wing instead of his current position on the right.

“It’s something that he might try,” Clarke said, according to Express Sports.

“I was a winger that played on both sides, primarily left-footed, but a lot of my first senior appearances for Arsenal were on the right wing. I was comfortable going on the outside and using my right. I wasn’t as so predominantly left-footed as Pepe.

“It’s something worth considering. It’s all about combinations really.

“At the moment we’ve got a seriously attacking left back so the left winger doesn’t need to do that because the left back does, so you’ve got [Gabriel] Martinelli or Aubameyang playing as a second striker from the left.

“On the right, the reason the balance isn’t as good is because we can’t push the full-back on as much for obvious reasons with [Bukayo] Saka playing as a left winger practically and because of Pepe coming inside. It is imbalanced.

“If Pepe was the type of player that went on the outside, we would be flying right now. I think he should mix up his game more, I think his decision-making absolutely can be better and more consistent.

“I want to see him combining more often with [Alexandre] Lacazette or whoever is playing as the striker. I want to see those give-and-gos a bit more often.

“We’ve seen it a little bit more of late with [Mesut] Ozil and Pepe, which is really encouraging, we want to see more of that.”

The thing is this, you have to think that Arteta has tried Pepe on the left-wing in training and if he is not deploying him in that role in actual games then you have to think there is a reason for that.


  1. Yes MARTIN, and is shows the problems all incoming managers have with using former managers players. I doubt MA would have sanctioned the buying of Pepe , not at that price anyway. But MA is now charged with having to get the best use from him and I do take your comments about the various wings being unbalanced if he reverts to hsi natural left side.

    It is Pepes lack of workrate and Milner like tigerish attitude that most concerns me. I have serious doubts that Pepe is here for the long haul. I have no doubts that MA will never carry passengers in any more than the short term from lack of viable altenatives, in OZIL style.
    Ozil will be let go in June ’21 for sure and I believe MA has that much in mind. I am also certain MA would love to have OZIL out of Arsenal now but knows he cannot force it.


    1. jon, do you know for certain that the “previous manager” ie head coach Unai Emery sanctioned the transfer of Pepe at the fee he cost, given he wasn’t on the list of players he submitted to the Board?

      1. Ozzie, Honest answer is NO, but my central point remains because he was NOT MA’s choice and that was my point.

    1. GB, I think you, Grandad and I… amongst others… have been saying this for a while now.
      Seeing him run into dead ends while trying to get onto his left foot with the ball is so frustrating. The west ham game saw this happen time and time again.

      He has undoubted talent ( not £72 million I suggest) and MA will bring that out, of that I’m sure.

  2. If you have a proper midfield to set him up at RW, then he’ll become lethal. Right now, he’s taking on 2-3 guys every attempt in the box bc we don’t have a midfield that can shift the opponent’s defense whatsoever much less offer a 4th guy crashing the box. Too predictable, too reliant on a Xhaka crossfield pass to shift the defense. Pepe was a great buy and will come good, but since our midfield is average, maybe LW isn’t a bad idea to see what happens…for now

  3. I think in addition to trying him on the left, he needs more support from the wing back upfront. At Lille, he got those numbers because he always had a teammate running alongside him as an option and that made it easier to shake off the two or three defenders tracking him. We need to do the same. Have more midfielders or.more wing backs close to him to help in narrow spaces. And he needs to release the balls more to the box and be less predictable. I think we will still get some value for the investment.

  4. who makes d runs to d inside of Pepe when his on d ball like TAA or Robertson to shift d defenders or give him options so he has to do it alone, look at saka 4 instance on d LW its those kind of runs dat give him room to play and we know he can.

  5. Since he arrived I have been advocating for Pepe to be played as a conventional left winger along the lines of Sane who ‘s long term injury has been a major factor in the slump in the fortunes of Man City.To me Pepe has all the attributes of Sane and quite frankly I have been disappointed and surprised that Arteta has not tried him on the left flank where he can take on defenders on the outside and cross on the run.After committing 72m on Pepe every effort has to be made to get value for money.

  6. I was central mid when I played. For me, I’m drooling over the fact I have Pepe on the right and lethal strikers up top. If we don’t score, it’s my fault, I feel

    Midfield has to get better

  7. A good idea to play Pepe on the left. Also importantly the support base from the midfield should increase to get the best out of him.

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