Opinion: Two Arsenal players that have to produce this season, no excuses allowed

Arsenal splashed the cash to sign Nicolas Pepe from Lille last summer after he had a fruitful campaign for the French side in the previous campaign.

He was expected to become Arsenal’s new match-winner as they struggled to find one in Unai Emery’s team apart from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Pepe had not just scored, he had also assisted a number of goals for the French side before moving to Arsenal and he was expected to do even more at the Emirates.

But he struggled in his first season at the Emirates and he will get another chance to prove his worth in the coming campaign.

He will even get some help from Willian who has just joined the Gunners for free and has a lot of Premier League experience.

Both wingers will be expected to score and create goals for Arsenal in the coming campaign and that is not a simple statement.

The only justification for being handed a three-year for Willian will be if he hits the ground running immediately. He is too old to ask for more time to get used to the Premier League or Arteta’s tactics.

Pepe has also had a season to get prepared, he has to deliver.

Arsenal will get goals from Aubameyang in the coming campaign, but these players have to also deliver the goods, we cannot take a poor season from them. It will be costly.

Tags Nicolas Pepe


  1. Pepe’s body language doesn’t speak well with me. I am sure he is going to be a massive player for us this season. He has to get his head down, forget his price tag and do what he is capable of. The talent is there.

    As for Willian I strongly believe this is his last season as a top player and he will deliver on our 14th title triumph.

    1. I also see a lack of real fight in Pepe. While not remotely as lazy as Ozil, he is hardly a warrior or hard worker and he has ground to make up in that regard. Late in the season he DID improve his work rate but that is still the major fault he has , plus a tendency to over dribble, IMO.

      Hard work is VITAL in ALL POSITIONS. Those fans who won’t see that or refuse to see it, in the case of OZIL FANS, are missing the basics of football.

  2. Peppe hesitates and thinks too much. That’s how he looses possession. If he does not get acclimated to the EPL the first few games of the season, it is hard to see how he ever will. Maybe he could play in the middle every now and then? As for Willian, he can’t be counted on to be a full time player. Wingers normally don’t last long. Let’s hope his experience and talent produces few goals. However, one of the young guys will see their time on the pitch reduced unless Lacazette is sold.

    1. Completely agree, Pepe’s problem is he holds on to the ball too long. I can see since MA came in that has reduced a bit but he need to reduce this habit of his far more. He needs to be told stop being Messi and why do you want to dribble past same player twice. I just hope Saka and Martenelli (when fit) are given enough time to further their progress also I want to see MA give MG a chance, with MA’s coaching the boy can really shine for us. We can actually build the team around these three for years. Not to mention talented and other skilled defenders we have acquired in form is Saliba, Gabi and Tierney. If we can keep these 6 together for 4-5 years we can dominate Primer League for years .

      1. MG will saty I guess. Since Arsenal could not find a buyer for him. TBH I watched his highlights last season and he seems a slower Ceballos. If he gets along with the Manager, then he can be a good option to replace Ceballos once he departs.

        1. MG has the same issue as Granit Xhaka. Slow feet. When he gets close to other players he looses the ball because his feet react very slow. That causes him also to fall. Since he arrived, Xhaka. learned to avoid traffic and get rid of the ball before loosing it. Both MG and GX have long strides just like Viera and Abu Diabi, Unfortunately they don’t have their technical ability, MG is still young and has potential. I like him better than Ceballos due o his combattive nature and vision on the long ball. If MA wants to counter attack that becomes important.

  3. I agree with you fully, however, we need to acknowledge that the team is currently unsettled because of the transition and this will affect the performance of the two players referenced above, team incentives and morale. In this regard, it is essential that the major outstanding issues are resolved asap – including Auba’s contract and the choice of the No. 1 keeper.

  4. Lol wingers sole purpose is to draw players in and dribble and be effective in wide areas … that’s why I hate the English game .. in Spain and Brazil dribbling is part of the game ..Englands national team is pass pass and that is why there isnt no end product ..pepe should be able to Express himself exactly how he is .be direct and take on players ..

    1. So you “hate” the English game then! How does it feel to be so completely out of step with the whole world of football which cannot get enough of Prem football! To me, no other country’s football is remotely as passionate and interesting as our Prem and even Championship.

      1. So true. The Championship is better than many European top leagues. The EPL is in the league of it’s own.

  5. Pepe has delivered some goals and assists for Arsenal last season in all the four competitions which the club participated to play in.

    And let us not forget but remember that it was his significant assist giving that he gave to Aubameyang after pouncing on a loose ball that resulted from Bellerin getting tackled. Which Aubameyang eventually scored to give Arsenal a 2-1 win over Chelsea in the FA Cup final at Wembley last season.

    But in truth and in general, the total number of goals and assists that Nicholas Pepe delivered for Arsenal last season in all competitions especially in the Premier League where it matters most were not sufficient enough if they were to match the £72m transfer signing fee that Arsenal used to sign him.

    Therefore, in the coming season campaign, Pepe having acclamatised for a whole season at Arsenal last season needs not be told to step it up considerably to more goals and give more assists for Arsenal next season far more than he did for the club last season. And I believe he would. Us Gooners are therefore all waiting to see. And hopefully, us will see what will please us from Pepe that will leave us in complete satisfaction as from next Saturday away to Fulham at Graven Cottage in the Premier League.

  6. I am sure Pepe will deliver this season. Last season he was new to the PL and required time to get used to the pace and hustle of the PL. Yet he played well according to me. As for Willian, there is no need to tell him what to do, as he has loads of experienced and talent to do well. I agree that MG should be given one more chance and also would like to see Ozil do well. The man really has the skill and artistry to do well and it only needs to be harnessed and am sure MA knows that.

  7. Pepe scored 8 assisted 10 and it is his first season at age of 24, he did not start ever match and we had 3 coaches finishing 8th. He did well overall (not perfect every match) and he can do better.

    He is not under pressure to prove something, more than any other player. Give him a break and support him.

  8. Pepe is a fine player and has the ability to step up, am sure he is aware of that, besides he now has proper competitor in Saka, this will help him step up, if he wants to be part of the team.
    I have nothing to say about Willian, if this 2 guys can deliver, we will be unstoppable, both can take on 2/3 players when with boy, can create, can shoot, can score from deadball,
    It will be interesting how MA incorporate the attack when everyone is fit

  9. Get Aoure and Pepe will be back on top form this season. I tell you if Arsenal could just do the seemly impossible signing of both Aoure and Partey this season as they surprised us last season with Pepe then top 4 is certainly achievable with lot of goals from Pepe, Auba and possibly Willian.

  10. pepe is quality but need to stay consistent and work harder

    if we keep changing the majority of the first team players then it will be hard for him to adapt to the style, play and team work to bring the best out of him

  11. Lol some arsenal fans are just funny, a player that was signed from the Ligue 1, he played under 3 different managers , he didn’t play every match but still was involved in 19 goals, he assisted Aubamayang first goal in the semi finals, was involved in the second goal, made the assists for Aubamayang 2nd goal in the final but still some think that he was a flop. How many wingers was involved in more goals than Pepe last season, please just stop all this and support the player.

  12. Sorry to go OT, but Bellerin a shareholder at Forest Green Rovers??! Good on him!! Got a thing for trees 😄

    1. Thats his problem. He should stop all this charity n social media and focus on training. He can do that once retired from professional football. Not being negative, but u r paid to play football and retired age is longer than being professional footballer. So, please tell him he got some years to do social service than being professional footballer. The way he is doing now, he will soon retired from professional football.

      1. But you are being negative. Because he’s paid to play football means he can’t have a life outside of football? Sheesh, imagine your employer pays you to do whatever work you do and tells you not to ever watch football or do anything else in your life just because he pays your wage. He’s paid for his services not his life. Some fans tho.

        1. 👍 It’s the time spent on social media, I am concerned with.
          Do your talking through your good works and/or your football performances on the field, not on social media.

  13. It’s obvious most people’s issues with Pepe is with his price tag and not his contributions to the club since his arrival. The guy will come good, give him time. Stop comparing him with salah, salah was a flop his first time in the PL, KDB didn’t do well too his first time. Pepe’s price tag is as a result of the market and not his talent. Patience guys, Patience

  14. Pepe did ok for his 1st season in epl considering it was one of the worse seasons ever for arsenal. Ignore the price tag and judge the player. Yes 5 goals 6 assists isn’t enough for an arsenal winger but he also showed a huge potential if he fully adapts both mentally and physically to the league.

    2 huge tests for foreign wingers when they come to the epl is if they will be able to dribble efficiently with the pace of the game and if they can cope with the physically and referee leniency for defenders. Fail 1 of them and you are most likely to flop. Pepe passed both tests now he has to get a consistent goal contributions. 15 goals 10 assists would be good target i think.

  15. Admin Martin, do you really honestly believe that a player of Willian’s ability and experience playing under the managers he did at Chelsea, will “need more time to get used to the Premier League and Arteta’s tactics”?

      1. Ackshay, I have read it again and not only is Willian “too old to ask”, but would not have the hide.

  16. I don’t know why people want Pepe to change his style. That’s how he is and it’s the reason we bought him for that amount. There’s no dribbler in the team aside Pepe and if he decides to change his style, he will end up being a backward and sideways passer.

    I think he will be more productive this season.

    1. I agree Pepe will do better this season but it’s fallacy to say he’s the only dribbler in the team, Ceballos, saka and AMN play for Leicester? And unlike this 3, pepe is the most predictable. He’s a good player with potential however.

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