Opinion: Reiss Nelson is a genuine challenger to Nicolas Pepe

Arsenal has a number of exciting players coming through their ranks, and Reiss Nelson is one that seems to enjoy the trust of Mikel Arteta.

He has been on the cusp of first-team action for some time now, even when Arsene Wenger was still our manager.

He has now benefited from Arteta’s show of support in the young members of his squad, and he started Arsenal’s game against Liverpool.

Arteta made a few changes to his team in that game, including leaving Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the bench until the second half.

Arsenal earned a surprising 2-1 win over the Premier League champions, and Nelson was very important in both goals for the club.

He netted one and pressed Virgil van Dijk for the other goal in a performance that he will remember for years to come.

It was good to see another player take up our right-wing role other than Nicolas Pepe.

Pepe has had a commendable season, but Nelson brought something else to the team with that performance.

One thing that I think Nelson did better than Pepe was pressing. I think that Nelson made it harder for Andrew Robertson to make his marauding runs in that first half, more than Pepe would have done.

Another thing that is different for both of them is that Pepe has more of a goal in him, and this is because it is easier for him to score from his left foot while cutting in from the right.

Personally, I haven’t been overly impressed with Pepe, but I’d rather have him in my team because of his goal threat and returns. Who would you rather have on the team?

An article from Ime

Tags Nicolas Pepe Reiss Nelson


  1. I am unimpressed with how easily Pepe gives up when he has lost possession. A true fighter would be straight back into the opponent fighting to regain it. Pepe is talented but is too lazy and I do not see him being here long under MA’s all for one and one for all regime. He will probably go the same way as Ozil; left out for a hungrier player and eventually moved on elsewhere.

    1. Unimpressed with how pepe gives up possession? What then about Nelson? I rarely see him defend and his skills are not even close to pepe. Would I have bought pepe for 72 mil? No. But I will still give him at least one season to get used to the EPL.
      There is a reason our loans come back, just not good enough, if they werent good enough for the other club, how is it they are for us? Nketiah anyone? Leeds didnt think he was yet……

  2. Comparing Nelson with Pepe is like comparing aubamayang to Sanogo, Pepe is the most skillful player will have. Nelson is not even has skillful as Saka not to talk of Pepe. For a player who moved from french league to premier league and still he’s been involved in 19 goals, that’s great. I know you are trying to put an article out but really you can do better than comparing Nelson to Pepe.

  3. OT.. Well, Cazorla has played his last game for Villarreal… ended in a 4-0 win.. he didn’t manage to find the back of the net, but assisted the first goal!
    Fingers crossed he’ll be back with us next season!

    1. I hope so, he will be a great addition to MA backroom staff. Also I think he can probably help our young Midfielders to become technically better and mature. We have struggled badly in midfield since he left. For me if not the best then he is right up there top of the list in terms of midfielders we have had.

      1. 👍 Totally agree, Mohsan! Come on Mikel, make it happen… will be so happy to see the little magician back where he belongs!

    2. Thought I read that he has signed for another club can’t remember the name but was only recent!!

      1. Interesting…. I’ve not seen owt as yet, Danny.
        Just been watching clips of his game tonight, he was given a guard of honour and lifted in the air by his teammates 😊

      2. Danny, he is off to Saudi Arabia; one last big pay day and not too tough a league, where he will get a lot of playing time. You are retired for a long time.

  4. Ozil will be wallowing in his own sweat. I think Arteta has a dirty job in his hands, dealing with such characters in a team is really challenging. Pepe should have learned his lesson from Ozil and pick up his bits. No case if he decided to fall on the same path as Ozil.

    1. Ozil and sweat in the same sentence! Do you have any idea how sweat is formed? It is present when effort is made. No chance of OZIL HAVING ANY THEN!

      1. Some times you just amuse us, of course we all know ozil can’t sweat on the pitch. You truly hate him. Luiz Mustafi were all hard workers, sweating like pigs that is if they do and at the end of the game end up commiting dreadful blunders that lose us games.

  5. I beg to differ Lenohappy.You are being disrespectful towards Nelson who to me was far more effective than Pepe against Liverpool and is far more talented than the hapless Sanogo.Time will tell, but I feel Nelson can make a real impression at Arsenal next season.Pepe to me is very predictable and while his work rate has improved he loses possession far to easily for my liking.For 72m I would expect the finished article not a work in progress.

    1. Grandad that’s a very funny comment, if you say Pepe is too predictable then maybe we are watching different arsenal sir, you said he losses possession easily, I agree with you on that but that’s to be expected because this is a new league and you can’t compare french league to the premier league and to your last point you said you expect the finished goods just because we bought him for 72million, man city bought Mahrez for 77million but he hasn’t yet justify that price and Mahrez has been in the premier league for over 3 years now. Pepe has played under 3 different coaches, and he’s also playing in one of the worst arsenal team have ever seen but still he’s being involved in 19 goals, to me that’s very good for a new player from a different league.

      1. Go check mahrez stats mate. Stop saying what you don’t know. Pepe is very predictable. Would pepe have gotten that ball off arguably the best cb in the world? The way Nelson did? I don’t think so. Stop being sentimental. Pepe is starting to be lazy, exposes bellerin alot who also can’t really defend. It’s only when AMN or cedric are playing there that we don’t get attacked from that wing too often. He’s a good enough player but he needs to work on his trickery. Ceballos is still a better dribbler than pepe. And sometimes when he needs to move the ball with pace, he stands there trying to do a skill that hardly ever works. We lose momentum in attack and he gets dispossessed.

  6. Thanks but no thanks. This comparison is uncalled for, they’re not even close. Nelson is nowhere close to Pepe, it’s that simple. Let’s take away the price tag and see them as individuals, a player that came up the ranks at Arsenal academy, has been to Germany for a full season, he’s still poor imo, take a look at Sancho and you’ll see it all. Back to Pepe, he just joined from Ligue 1, one season with us and I must confess I’m impressed, I didn’t expect him to adapt that fast. KDB and Salah flopped first time in EPL. How many players have really lit up the league in their first season? Please let’s leave all the overhyping of youngsters like Nelson for now because he’s isn’t even close.

  7. Given your disparaging comments concerning young Nelson who as you are aware cost Arsenal not one penny,why do you feel obliged to now compare Pepe with Mahrez, who by the way cost 55m not 77m.We are not discussing Mahrez we are comparing the merits of two Arsenal players who are both talented .We differ in that you do not rate Nelson whereas I do.I also recognise Pepe as having inane talent which hopefully will blossom next season.No hard feelings.

  8. I do not agree that Pepe is lazy off the ball, I think, he is trying hard and fans need to give him a break. For Nelson, he has some quality for sure, but you cannot evaluate him on one game and in one or two moments of Liverpool game. In other games he was not good. We need to see him in a run of games to know.

  9. Nelson still plays within his shell. He’s hesitant to beat his man. He presses well, but for now, that’s all he brings. Not a genuine goal threat, nor assist. Neither does he carry the ball to relieve the team of pressure all which saka does well.

  10. I don’t know what this forum is all about maybe comedy forum, comparing Nelson with Pepe is a joke, I don’t rate Nelson as a player ,Saka,martinelli have improved but Nelson no, despite the hype from arsenal fans forum (Kev) Pepe has not lived up to expectations we know, we should buy better players if we want compete again not comparing Nelson with Pepe or any other players

  11. Grandad, just because Nelson scored his first goal in the premier League, he’s now better than Pepe? The guy is average and a championship quality as far as I can see. I seriously doubt if Nelson and willock will make it at arsenal. you expect Pepe to be Messi because you bought him for 72m? Hello, Maguire scored an own goal yesterday, he’s English, cost more than Pepe but has not made United unbeatable. Pepe is the most influential player in our squad after Aubamayang check the stats. He will only get better once he’s used to the league.

  12. He showed some quality but he needs to play more, I guess we can see more from him very soon with MA being in charge.

  13. I did not infer that Nelson was superior to Pepe.I merely stated that he was better than Pepe against Liverpool.You really have to read what was actually said before you respond.Did I mention Messi?

  14. Nelson will be ploughing his trade in championship in a couple of years … Pepe may end up back in France but he is a way better attacking footballer … still he needs to up the effort for sure if he is going to realize his talent

  15. One fact about football. A player needs to play regularly in order to gel with his teammates. I don’t think Nelson’s playing time amounts to 90 mins this season. All of our young players have gotten more opportunities to play than he has. Don’t give up on him so easily.

  16. For me Pepe has boundless talent that if harnessed and nurtured could be as good as anyone. If Nelson is in that category, which i dont think he is, he has far more improvement to make. Pepe for me by a country mile, no contest, yet.

  17. Not sure we have to create this false dichotomy. There is room at Arsenal for both and I hope to see them both blossom under Arteta. Will the next article pit Saka against Martinelli? Do City fans have to choose between Mahrez and B Silva?

  18. Not a big fan of Pepe, but Nelson does not even come close to challenging him. Nelson’s game is so so raw and i cannot name many positive elements of his game. He needs another loan in fact. I would be shocked if Nelson makes the grade at Arsenal honestly. The rest of his classmates, Saka, Nketiah, Joe, ESR, are pretty far beyond him. His transition from the youth to mens game has not been smooth.

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