Opinion: I still don’t believe Pepe has what it takes and I’d gladly take Zaha in the summer

Nicolas Pepe scored twice as Arsenal beat Brighton in their last Premier League game of the season.

The Ivorian has mostly flattered to deceive since he has been on the books of the Gunners.

Arsenal was advised by their manager at the time, Unai Emery, to sign Wilfried Zaha instead, but they brought in Pepe in a record-breaking deal.

He came with so many expectations and faltered in his first campaign at the club.

We all expected him to shine in the just-concluded campaign, but he couldn’t even make the team at some points.

He scored five league goals in his first season at the club and 10 in the just concluded one.

His inconsistent form is one reason why Arsenal isn’t playing European football next season.

In a bid to salvage their season, he has scored two goals each in his last two games for the club.

It seems he is now in good form and it’s easy to think he would start the next campaign the same way.

But I don’t think that is guaranteed to be the case. I reckon he is in fine form now because the transfer market is reopening and would want to remain at the club. 

In my opinion, he will return to his normal inconsistent self at the start of next season.

Zaha hasn’t had the best of seasons, but I still believe that he would be a better fit for the Gunners.

I also reckon we would be better off with both wingers on our team if we land Zaha in the summer and kept Pepe.

An article by Ime

Tags Nicolas Pepe wilfried zaha


  1. Thank you, Boss!!
    While Pepe showed one or two falshes of ability, he is known to be inconsistent n can disappear totally in games!!
    Same issues with Auba, Laca, Saka, in d just concluded season!!
    Wilfred Zaha is a whole package!! He is aggressive, fast and dribbles alot. He Always a ‘pain in d ass’ of EPL right backs n defenders!!
    He also has a bit of nastiness like Suarez of Liverpool!!
    + EPL experience which Saka, Martinelli n Pepe doesn’t have for now!!
    He is a player we should go for, alongside Y.Bissouma!!
    We need W.Zaha!!

    1. “Zaha hasn’t had the best of seasons”

      And this season was his best goal tally in his entire PL career.. and he will be turning 29 before the years end plus he will cost way too much for what we would get in return, good player but also too inconsistent, doesnt get enough raw numbers regardless of the team he plays for so a no for me and I dont see us going in for him unless it’s at a massive discount.

        1. Vinnie I’d have to agree with DTM here, I’ve commented a bit lower down on the thread with my reasoning.

          1. No need to get snippy I was just asking because you sent it as a reply, how is anyone supposed to know you meant the writer of the article and not me, vinny or pjsa… it’s on you to be clear who your actually talking to lol.

      1. In keeping with our newly found tradition of caring for the aging, needy and sick/injury prone players, provinding them with financial and medical assistance in their twillight of their careers, signing Zaha would make perfect sense. If we are serious to fight for the title or honors, stay away from Zaha, his time came and he/CP blew it away. No thanks now. Give Pepe a continous spell of games to boost his morale, and see what he can do.

        1. Spot on! Pepe is just getting started and Arteta hasn’t given him consistent run of game time this season to build up his confidence so THAT’S WHY HE’S BEEN INCONSISTENT!

    2. Sorry to disagree Vinnie.I honestly believe Zaha would have been an ideal buy when he left Man Utd , but not now.I think I he is vastly over-rated ,highly temperamental and continually allienates refs which can be counter productive for his team.I have no idea what sort of price CP will be looking for but I much prefer his young team mate Eze who could develop into a top quality player.

    3. Total garbage. Zaha has always been an overrated and totally inconsistent diving cheat. He is a million miles away from Pepe who is now approaching world class, and has scored 16 goals this season with several assists. When has Zaha at any time approached those figures. Emery was a disaster and his preference for Zaha over Pepe showed how poor his judgment was, as is yours

    4. And why is he stuck in Crystal Palace, If he’s that good I wonder. He flatters to deceive and fits well in a team.like that. Elsewhere, he would find the truth about himself which are not.fun to know. In fact, it happened when he signed at OLD Trafford and didn’t last. He is that kind of player who is where he belongs.

    5. Great idea let’s buy loads of Africans and then be decimated in January when they all go off to the afcon.

      As it stands we are going to lose Partey, Aubameyang, Pepe and elneny, just imagine we buy zaha and bissouma and all 6 go off to Cameroon.

      What with Gabriel and Martinelli both missing the start of the season because of the olympics. We need to be very careful where we spend our money.

    6. I understand fans already asking for big money signings, but do we see big budget to do it?
      Offload Laca, Leno, Luiz, Bellerin, Nelson, Nketiah, Ceballos, Torreira, Guendouzi, AMN, Willock, replace Odegaard, give Martinelli more game time, get Saliba back and then maybe we can sign 1-2 players

  2. I wouldn’t mind zaha at CF to been honest. He’s so strong and could be really dangerous – trouble is it would be a big risk to sign him for that position
    I’m positive about having Pepe for next season, though, I think he’s starting to click

  3. No. Because we’ve got several right-footed LWs already, such as Aubameyang, Martinelli, Nelson and Willian

    If Nketiah can’t be sold and if Balogun fails as a CF, both can also be tried on the left wing. Besides, Tyreece John-Jules, Kido Taylor-Hart and George Lewis from the academy are all right-footed attackers, that like to cut inside and shoot from the left wing

    We should’ve looked for the player types we don’t have, not another LW

  4. Highest goals and assists in the squad.
    On that basis we should bin every single attacker we have then. Out with Aubamayang Laccacette Martinelli Saka Nketiah ESR

    1. Those who want Zaha at arsenal have had me wondering for a really long time, WHY? He is one of the EPL’s biggest red herring.

      The guy has been mostly out-performed by a novice like Pepe even when he hasn’t been at his best.

      Fans could at least aim higher than Zaha who has been terribly mediocre since his move from championship football to the EPL years ago. This has been his best season yet, and at almost 29, Pepe has outperformed him again. Come on guys! Be real.

  5. Zaha would be a silent gun. Like Auba nowadays. Two expensive ex-stars who doesn’t score, and AFC will be out of top 12 in the mid of December.

  6. Stats definitely don’t tell the whole story but what most of you forget is Pepe is often on the bench and rarely gets a run of games to build any kind of form. Zaha is also a seasoned EPL player. Even with all of that Pepe has the better stats and still has potential to improve whereas Zaha is unlikely to. Not worth 72m either way IMO.

    2020/2021 Season

    29 starts | 1 subbed on
    Mins – 2613
    Goals – 11
    Mins per Goal – 238 mins
    Shot Accuracy – 33%
    Assists – 2

    16 starts | 13 subbed on
    Mins – 1610
    Goals – 10
    Mins per Goal – 161 mins
    Shot Accuracy – 44%
    Assists – 1

    Pepe just needs coaching and take advice on how to work on his game seriously. If Pep G coached Pepe in 1 year you’d see one of the deadliest wingers in Europe, he’s got all the raw ability.

    Pepe would be my choice, my opinion anyway.

    1. Willock performance at Newcastle have made me wonder with proper coaching how many great players we have. I would like to see how Pepe would fare with another coach if Arteta don’t build on his impressive performance at the end of the season.

  7. Yeah Pepe has really stunk it up the second
    half of the season while Zaha has taken the
    EPL by storm.


    Arsenal desperately need a new RB, a
    CM or DM to partner Partey, a CAM
    to compete with ESR and a quality back
    up GK if Ryan isnt retained. \

    With all these holes in the starting 11 it
    amazes me that sensible Arsenal fans
    would actually clamor for one of the most
    overrated players in the EPL.

    ATM Zaha isnt in the same league as PEPE

  8. I know you are just looking for comments, I know even the author of this article doesn’t really believe that Zaha is better than Pepe. Under a coach like kloop Pepe will be unstoppable you see that his left foot is something else, Pepe can do it all, hes a better dribbler hes good with setpieces hes a good penalty taker and above all hes 2 years younger than Zaha. When I read things like Zaha is better I just laugh, compare Zaha stats with Pepe and see which is better and nobody should tell me “Zaha is playing in a smaller club” because even when he was in man United he didn’t do anything special.

  9. 5 goals in his first season and 10 in 2nd means improvement, who knows the number will multiply again in d next season. Pepe is a better player take it or leave it, if you think Zaha is better despite being the being in epl all this while Pepe stay is still better than his, if you claim Pepe is inconsistent, how consistent is Zaha? What does he do apart a few dribbling and some flashes of brilliance, without ball he is useless just like Pepe so why do you think he is better

    1. If Arteta hadn’t had a man crush on Willian’s game, we probably aren’t having this conversation. Split Willian’s minutes between Pepe and Martinelli, allowing both to develop more consistency and Arsenal are a better team.

  10. Undoubted talent but a persistent cheat. Always throwing himself to the ground in the penalty area followed by a quizzical look at the ref. Thought it ironic when Palace fans chanted “same old Arsenal always cheating” at KT who had the audacity to feel pain when kicked from behind while supporting a real cheat. Sorry but for me, too much of an embarrassment to have at AFC.

  11. If arsenal really want to do well next season, we need Zaha, just imagine Zaha on Left wing and pepe on right wing. To me Saka is just a fine player but not there yet. Sometimes I ask myself what is Saka doing during a match the way he plays without quality football knowledge. Arsenal needs good ready made super quality players, by adding them to the squad if we really want to achieve or have a good season, come next Season….!!! But like typical arsenal manager, Edu and the board they will not go for Zaha and we might end up not getting good quality target in this just concluded league that will be easy to adapt in the country.

    1. Saka has been an anchor for the team this year, a big part of why we came out of the 15th place hole we fell in.

      So I guess an army of fans and ex-player pundits are mistaken in regards to their praise and ratings of Saka?

      No way I would swap either Pepe or especially Saka for the overrated Zaha.

    2. U are a Spurs fan, come on and admit it?

      Saka is just a fine player but not there yet

      WTF are you on, the kid has been one of the best players in Europe, he has been played in FIVE different positions, never moaned, never dived, he is now worth over 100M, him ESR are MASSIVE Talents and can only get better

  12. I’ve got two points to make here:

    1) Pepe in my opinion hasn’t been a poor buy at arsenal.
    I believe the issue with him is the fact he cost 72m.
    With his stats over the last two seasons, if he came in for 25m nobody would complain. In fact, we would all applaud him as a great buy.
    We all judge him based on the price tag, which isn’t his fault.
    My point being? Pepe is not a 72m player. At best he’s below 40m IMO, and he’s delivering the performances of a player of that value.

    2) Pepe has had a very good season. I know that may stun you. But I have the numbers to prove that. In the premier league, he totalled 1612 minutes (which is the equivalent of 18 league games). Yet, he scored 10 league goals and got 1 assist. That’s 11 goal contributions.
    In the Europa league, he scored six and assisted four in 903 minutes played (equivalent of 10 games).
    In total, this guy returned 21 goal contributions over the course of 28 games (epl and Europa league). That’s way above Saka, auba, and several wingers in EPL, all of whom played more minutes than him.

    PS: Total number of minutes played was divided by 90 minutes (duration of one full match) to determine the number of games played in this analysis.

    Summarily, PEPE has delivered a great season by his standards. He didn’t deliver what’s expected of a 72m signing, but the price tag is not his fault.

  13. We have a novice for manager and should not think he knows everything experienced manager can do. Some things are completely new to him. Klopp and Pep or evenTuchel are experienced and know what you can do to help someone in transition. All of Pepe had to figure it out by himself while competing for.playtime.

  14. And why is he stuck in Crystal Palace, If he’s that good I wonder. He flatters to deceive and fits well in a team.like that. Elsewhere, he would find the truth about himself which are not.fun to know. In fact, it happened when he signed at OLD Trafford and didn’t last. He is that kind of player who is where he belongs.

  15. Are you for real? I really don’t get this Love-In for Zaha, the bloke is a diving cheat, always moaning to the refs, he can’t tie Pepe’s Boots.
    If Pepe had played the games where Willian played then maybe just maybe we would be in Europe? Pepe was MOTM in the Cup Final then he was dropped for Willian, and then Finally he got some starts and his confidence back, and now look at him. If Zaha is so Mega Brilliant, how come F All Teams want him? only we have made a bid, and then he says he is a massive Gooner? yea right
    He has cost us many points by his diving and cheating I don’t want him anywhere near the Cannon.

  16. Ilive near to Palace and know several people, some fans, some not, of Palace and have heard from several sources why Zaha is not sought after by more knowing clubs than the naive fans on here who want him .

    He is not a team player to put it mildly, has a too high opinionof himself and has caused a deal of trouble in the borough. I know these things for a fact and am telling you with the knowledge I hold but which many of you cannot possibly know.


    EVEN WERE HE A NICER PERSON (WHICH HE IS NOT!!), HIS AGE AND TRANSFER FEE WOULD MAKE A SERIOUS BID A HUGE MISTAKE. Arteta speedily got rid of one unpleasant trouble maker in Guendouzi and he had not a jot of Zahas talent.

    People who understand the science of body language,as I have done for much of my adult life, know what signs to look out for. We need to build cohesion and team spirit , not regress it, so ZAHA is a non starter for us!


      1. I prefer Pepe. Way much better than Zaha. Pepe been suffering from calamity right back in the name of Bellerin. Pepe performs better with Chambers or Soares. Remember alluding to the fact Martinelli played better with Xhaka as a leftback than when he plays with Tierney? The combinations matter.

  17. Pepe has been involved in 21 goals for Arsenal this season, which is more than any other Arsenal player. Not bad for a so called inconsistent season. What people are blind to is he actually produces and does things to win football matches. Zaha is grossly over rated and never really had a great season. Pepe all day for me and that’s probably a good thing for me because we will have him again next season.

  18. Zaha this, Zaha that… Aren’t we tired of it every season. We have Pepe and we should all support and love him because he could only get better. I know the lad price tag makes him an easy target, we forgot he didn’t make the deal nor the bargain, he loved Arsenal and decided to join us even when other clubs wanted him. Pepe shall become a nemesis for epl teams next season, I hope he gets his head into the game and MA gets his tactics right

    1. You forgot to say and hope MA gives him consistent run of game time instead of blaming the kid for a lack of consistency when he was a player himself and should know that consistent game time is the key to finding your rythym. Irrespective of who you are.

  19. This article disrespected Pepe. Zaha can be expected to score 7 goals in a season (average) Pepe has an average of 12 per season at Arsenal during the adjustment phase. This is expected to climb to 20 per season. Pepe has more career goals right now – even with 3 less years.

    Pepe scored 4 more goals this season than Zaha who is finally peaking. Zaha is pretty running; and his belly flopping athleticism is intriguing – but the referees do not buy it. I would rather have a less attractive more productive Willock than Zaha. Based on the extrapolation of statistics Pepe can be expected to score between 1.6 and 2.2 times more goals in his career than Zaha. Can we stop joking now?

    1. You my friend deserve a medal. End of! Although I wouldn’t say no to Zaha tbh

  20. Pepe’s stats eclipse Zaha’s, despite rarely having a starting run, and the primary attacking focus of the team not being down that side of the pitch.
    His stats are also highly impressive when you consider that he has played with so many RBs behind him this season. He has had precious little opportunity to form partnerships.
    If one of Pepe and Zaha flatters to deceive, it’s certainly not Pepe.
    We couldn’t possibly expect to see better productivity from the right flank until we settle on a new RB.

  21. Wouldn’t touch him with a barge pole. Undoubted talent but a downright cheat. Always throwing himself down in the penalty area then looking quizical at the ref. Would be an utter embarrassment.

  22. Zaha over Pepe…no chance! Pepe is just getting started and Arteta hasn’t given him consistent game time this season to build up his rythym and confidence so THAT’S WHY HE’S BEEN INCONSISTENT! He has all it takes. He can dribble and very good in 1v1 situations, (remember he was the first to dribble past VVD of Liverpool) scores goals and like a lot of people have said, he hasn’t got the experience Zaha has so he’s only gonna get better. He’s been directly involved in 21 goals this season. That’s not too shabby at all for a player who is too “inconsistent’! Plus he’s still only young with bags of potential so yeah I’m more than happy to keep him. But I also wouldn’t say no to Zaha.

  23. Zaha is class. Always dangerous and is making trouble for most defenses. Together with Pepe we would have a monster attack.

  24. A couple of years ago Zaha was in his prime. He looks a bit disinterested now and maybe needs another challenge. Maybe swap Joe Willick for him and get Emi Buendia for the midfield. Buendia is a real quality player and at a perfect age.

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