Pepe is simply not good enough to be an Arsenal starter

Is it Over for Pepe? by AI

Fans are always full of hope. Every new season, we hope it’s our turn to be successful and win the biggest trophies because, well, nothing is impossible. And when it comes to players, especially a very talented player like Nicolas Pepe, we always think that this year would be his year.

However, I propose that we consider that it is over for Nicolas Pepe, especially in Arteta’s positional play scheme. Let me show you why.

The right winger in Arteta’s system is meant to be a proficient 1 on 1 player who can make deliveries inside and outside of his man, as well as combine with the 10 and inverted right back. It is like a traditional winger style. Nicolas Pepe, a 72 million euros signing, cannot play like a traditional winger. He can rarely beat his man from a standing start and he rarely combines intelligently with the 10 and supporting rightback. The relationship between him and Calum Chambers was dead on Friday evening. Despite the fact that Chambers did come towards him several times to offer support.

Saka, however, makes a difference on that side. The Number 7 can function as many things, including playing like a traditional winger. He can beat his man inside or outside, drive with the ball and pick out runners in the box. Everyone talks about how the rightback support is why Pepe never works but nobody remembers that Saka plays on the same right flank.

Here’s the truth: Nicolas Pepe has a disappointingly limited skillset. He is best playing off the left as an inside forward or as an impact sub. People were deceived by his flurry of goals at the end of last season. There was little that was impressive about it to me. Where was this Pepe when we needed him in the crunch fixtures of the season? Getting red cards and running into dead ends.

We have been finessed out of an exorbitantly large amount of money for a limited player. It was pure incompetence from our decision-makers. And we are still eating the fruit of it today.

Agboola Israel

Tags Pepe Saka

82 Comments

  1. PJ-SA says:

    Two things that are very clear:

    1-He needs proper coaching, the ability is there. If MA just stopped letting him dribble so much and instruct him to run hard at the defenders you’d see a huge difference.

    2-He’s clearly a LW, his performances are much better on the left. He is almost always put RW.

    1. jaymee says:

      Thanks coach

      1. PJ-SA says:

        How closely related are your parents?

      2. Adeyemii says:

        Everyone is forming to be coach lolz, I hope Arsenal get it right soon so that we ll know the club only have one coach.

    2. Davi says:

      Not sure the LW thing is so important except that I think it forces him to be more direct, so you get less of the ponderous dribbling anyway.
      If point 1 alone was followed up (I wouldn’t call it coaching either, just instruction) you’d probably see a very good player.
      He’s our best finisher and I’m convinced he could be a 20 goal player if he focused on getting into the right positions

      1. PJ-SA says:

        Agreed Davi, his finishing is actually extremely good. In my mind if our strikers are out of form it might be worth it to give him a go upfront.

    3. Mark says:

      Arteta caused WW1 and WW2….and the Black death…At least PJ-SA seem to think so..

    4. Sir Michael says:

      PJ-SA Why buy a left winger then play him on the right ask Arteta God knows

    5. siamois says:

      I completely agree .

    6. Vandall777 says:

      He is too weak to play in the PL and is easily bullied off the ball and he doesn’t really have a right foot, vey much like Odegard. If you want to be a top footballer, you need to be two footed and both of them ain’t!!

    7. Ozziegunner says:

      PJ-SA, apparently it is OK for Agboola to throw a player like Nicholas Pepe in the rubbish bin, but you are criticized as trying to be the Arsenal coach, for putting an alternate opinion?
      Pepe has proved he is an improving player each season, provided he is given opportunities.
      It is up to the manager to coach his available players and provide tactics and a system of play to get optimum performance from the team.

  2. Fred Umaka says:

    By the time we clear our eyes of the fog, we shall see the player to trade is Pepe. I find him not consistent, selfish, a knack for waiting to reap or harvest balls but failing to assist or pass at the right time.
    I lone wolf and not a team player.
    I would take the chance to trade him and develop Saka for his place.

    1. Sir Michael says:

      Fred Umaka I agree with you 100% we should sell him while we can get a good bit of money for

  3. arie82 says:

    So, his best position is lw
    Then, which id*ot man who put him as rw…

    1. Joel Azulay says:

      Should prob blame all his previous clubs then……

      1. David says:

        Thanks
        In his most prolific year he played as an inverted winger. At the time he was considered one of the most exciting prospects in Europe.
        According to someone here his then manager is an “idiot”. The author above also proclaims what he believes to be a “truth”. This is merely an opinion and has little evidence to support it.
        I would also suggest that his best performances for Arsenal have also come from playing on the right. Unfortunately, he has not been consistent; just like several other players.
        This is not to say he cannot play LW but to state that this is unequivocally his best position is clearly inaccurate.
        I also feel that his transfer fee has continued to be a problem when judging him.

        1. Mark says:

          Thanks for this objective analysis..

  4. Shortboygooner says:

    Poorly managed and coach imho. The person that needs to go is arteta. Plain and simple.

    Pepe, auba, gabriel etc have all gone from hero to zero under this dude

    1. Highbury Hero says:

      I am strongly convinced Pepe under a proper manager will more than justify his transfer fee.

      1. Chris says:

        Completely agree with that. Also, esr’s inexperience and our right backs’ inconsistencies don’t provide good options for him to pass and evolve his Gameplay. He needs to improve tactically, but in order to do that successfully, we need a rb that will operate like Tierney. And before people start with the “saka plays on the same wing”, just take a look at saka’s and pepe’s stats and ask yourself if you are judging pepe with his transfer fee and saka with the “he is one of us” mindset.

      2. Wale says:

        Thanks HH, under coach Arteta, Auba, Laca, Pepe are not good enough, Saliba is not ready yet, Martinelli is not fit, Guendozi has attitude issue. BUT
        Auba was the highest goal scorer in Bundesliga, joint top scorer in premier league under Emery, Laca was Lyon best player before we signed him, Pepe was joint highest goal scorer in ligue1 and second best player behind Mpape, Saliba was Ligue1 golden boy and good prospect for future, Guendozi worth 60m market value under Emery and Torreira was like our own white Ngolo Kante but what happened to them now?
        According to some fans or perhaps our coach, they are not good enough ( just all of a sudden, their market value become zero)…… Let’s reason together as an unbias fans and say the truth for once…
        For me; the blame can’t be the players only, let’s check the coach, his tactics and techniques, instruction he passed on and off the field…..
        Have you guys observed Teirney now, the guy is getting tired .

        1. Liam says:

          Lacazette had his most prolific season for us last season and has been here 4 seasons so you can’t blame Arteta for that.

          If Guendouzi was worth 60 million don’t you feel us allowing him to go cheap cause of a falling out would get him bigger moves than stugart and Marsielle?

          Pepe was awful under Emery and was one of his many undoing. Finally Abameyang could Arteta coach him to be worse at finishing ? Let’s be honest Abameyangs all round game is poor, it was poor at Dortmund poor under Wenger poor under Unai. The difference is under these managers he was clinical but can Arteta be blamed for players missing glorious chances?

          1. Muyizo says:

            Pepe is frustratingly bad with a first touch. I never really saw what we saw in him to bring him ahead of zaha or Adams traore. Edu was a decent player but lacks the basics when it comes to clearing the dead woods and bringing in players that would inject PACE to our game. Pepe cannot even inject a burst of pace to evade a marker. I saw how adama traore motored past leister defenders only to let his finishing run amok. Now that is a player that would add tremendous pace to our attack and someone like maddisson in the no. 10 role. But with xhaka , Pepe, belerin , Chambers, Mari , our transition is slow slower and slowly always. Am afraid we are stuck with these mediocrity for a long time …. So sad. Arsenal becoming a relic

      3. Ozziegunner says:

        👍 As for some other players.

  5. gotanidea says:

    A traditional or conventional winger plays on their strongest side to make plenty of accurate crosses and to reach the byline frequently. For instance, Adama Traore, Ismaila Sarr, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Steve McManaman and Santiago Solari

    Today’s wingers are mostly tasked to cut inside and shoot more often than reaching the byline. Pepe is unfortunately not consistent enough to do that, but he’s still one of fastest and tallest attackers at Arsenal

    Saka is also inconsistent, but he’s younger, seems to have a better understanding of the games and have been playing with other youngsters for more than five years. Our last great winger who can cut inside and shoot consistently was Sanchez, unfortunately he wasn’t pacey

    Wingers should be our least problem now, because we don’t have a strong and dominant CF for our current system. We do have some pacey attackers though, so we might as well lose the ball possession intentionally and set things up for counter-attacks

    1. Sylva says:

      Gai

      Well said,,👌

      Hope Arteta sees what you see. I have a feeling if he get Matin Odegard as now reported by Mail Online news, he will stick to his 4-2-3-1 formation. If we manage to win with the formation good. But if he fails the fans would be on him.

      There is also a risk of playing 3-4-2-1 the team have not played it recently and I am unsure of Rob Holding match fitness he may be rusty. My fear is If Arsenal employ 3-4-2-1 against Chelsea, on the break we don’t have clinical finisher like Lacazette who is not available.

      May be this is an opportunity for F.Balogun or Martinelli to show their ability.

      1. gotanidea says:

        Yes, Balogun’s and Martinelli’s speed could be perfect for a counter-attacking three-CB formation. If I’m not mistaken, Holding played two pre-season games

  6. Steve P says:

    He scored more goals than Aubameyang last season and his form in the last few weeks of the season was outstanding, which is why various sources have tipped him to have his best year by far. To drop him from the first 11 at this stage would be absurd.

    1. Sylva says:

      SteveP
      I agree with you absolutely 👌

      1. Ozziegunner says:

        Plus 1!

  7. Balogs says:

    The fact that Aubameyang is now a flop under Arteta can only mean Arteta is the problem. I will still give every of our players the chance once MA is let go. He has successfully made Willock a magpie hero as it stands.

    1. Ozziegunner says:

      By pushing Willock out the door, but the Club got more money to spend where?

  8. ArseOverTit says:

    Pepe is good on his day (which isn’t that often) but far too inconsistent. End product lacks and some less than astute decision making.

    Agree that playing him to his strengths would help though but give me an overmars anyway of the week;)

    In other news; personally find the interest in odegard very uninspiring. He is a tidy player but not a world beater hence RM not wanting him. Last season he did some good stuff too but there were a lot of predictable and side ways passes..maybe that’s because of the lack of confidence of his team mates and the club in general was already starting to soak into his bones!?

    1. Gunners4life says:

      To think we made a pass on Zaha for him..

  9. TLA says:

    On the night with Brentford, he was still on of few good players in Arsenal side, together with Smith Rowe, Tierney (and then Saka as substitute).

  10. JanV says:

    I thought Pepe came on strong at the end of last season.

    I don’t think we can judge him on the first game of this season. The entire team didn’t pick up where we left off.

    I think the middle of the park is our problem, ball rotation is a bit too slow and patterns too predictable. By the time Pepe got the ball he often had two defenders on him.

    OT: Why did Cedric not start?or sub? Was he not an Arteta signing?

    1. VasC says:

      Cedric is just a part of the Latino contignet, including Luzi, Willian, Mari, Tavares and may be Dani C and Odegaard (must be half-spanish by now), to amuse Arteta and Edu at Arsenal. Trying to replicate Wenger’s years, when a bunch of French players were signed to keep him amused. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

      1. Protiq says:

        Didn’t those French players amused us as well. Wenger had his downfall when he tried to have a british core.

        1. VasC says:

          Those French players more than amused us. Sown the seeds of greed in every Arsenal follower by winning title after title.

          Wenger was forced into developing a British core by the changes brought by the “home grown” quota rules. He simply was unlucky in that project. Regularly losing players like Cesc, Ramsey, Wilshere, Ox and maybe a few other young talents along the way due to our failure to retian the player or being sidelined through injury throughout his final years at Arsenal. Ironically, those type of players are the ones we are currently longing for now.

      2. JanV says:

        Maybe true but still a waste of a signing if you bring on a sub who is a left-back (back-up) instead of Cedric who is a right-back proper. Was he bought against Arteta’s wishes and now Arteta refuses to play him? That would not be a good dynamic. Edu buys players Arteta doesn’t want and Arteta doesn’t play players Edu buys.

    2. Adeyemii says:

      I agree with you, that’s what I observed recently, whenever pepe gets ball two or three players rushed him, they must have discovered he can shoot ball properly

    3. Biscuitbum says:

      Just another player who shouldn’t be here. Not good enough for Southampton, but for us – well he came on a free to claim his wages.

  11. Zamar says:

    Arsenal is simply not good enough for most of these guys. and that is a fact a lot of us can’t seem to stomach. We’re not what we were globally revered for, not anymore.

    The earlier we face this, the better. cos if(when ) a pepe eventually leaves, another player will come in and it’ll be the same ol’lamentation.

    it’s the club that needs fixing – after which we can start assessing players clearly

    1. Ozziegunner says:

      👍 “A fish rots from the head down.”

  12. Stephan Luc Larose says:

    Al. You are simply not good enough to have these opinions. More laughably bad, sky-is-falling, get rid of everyone BS you here constantly amplified by the hysteria-promoting press. The more dramatic and hysterical the better.

    You can’t write this and still claim to be an Arsenal supporter. This is antithetical to the entire role we get to play as fans. Fans like this killed this club. All we hear from AFTV and other negative channels is get rid of everyone all the time.

    Sorry, but whining and complaining is not a solution, and getting rid of every player every time they had a single bad game isn’t either.

    Pepe is good, but he’ll be better when the whole team is better. He can beat Van Dyck 1v1 and scores some magnificent goals. Why drag him down instead of boost him up? He’s not 32 yet.

    We used to be class and solidarity. Now we are trash that spew negativity at our own club to get famous and we fall apart after a SINGLE game. Where is the warrior mentality? The very embodiment of “pathetic.”

    1. jon fox says:

      Where Al is concerned and also many who echo his constant negative thoughts, I could not agree more with your post Stephen!

      1. ken1945 says:

        Same here Jon – Anyone who cared to watch Pepe during the latter part of last season, saw a player finally getting to grips with the PL and believing in his ability.

    2. Jay says:

      Thanks man. In the match against Brentford, Pepe was one of the few players who actually put in a shift. The problem was Chambers who never came up to support the attack on the right wing. Pepe has been improving despite not playing in his natural position. Just because we don’t like a player doesn’t give us the right to make them the scapegoat for every abysmal performance. The team generally had a bad game.

      1. PJ-SA says:

        I’ll agree Chambers gave him almost no support in the game, he was often vs 2 or 3 opponents.

  13. DaJuhi says:

    Off topic, but I wouldn’t mind Auba – Coutinho swap.

    – we’ll get Aubas enormous wages off, as Coutinho likely wouldn’t command anywhere near what he earns

    – sulking, misfiring forward for PL proven winger who has failed at Barca but did quite well for Bayern just over a year ago

    – Coutinho is 3 years younger and no ones ever going to buy Auba

  14. jon fox says:

    I much disagree with Al on Pepe. I see a real talent here who, lets not forget, scored a lot of goals for a so called winger.
    To me though, he is not a proper winger but can be made into a striker, though clearly not the target man type .

    More use than Auba who was pathetic last season, lets not forget . I far prefer Auba sold/ swopped, than to let Pepe go, just as he is REALLY showing some productivity and genuine talent.

    I simply do NOT see things as Agboola does! In any case I firmly believe Al will not get his wish, so I see his piece as effectively just an academic argument that will not succeed.

  15. ThirdManJW says:

    I actually feel sorry for Pepe, probably more than any other Arsenal player.

    Although his stats are good, we expect more consistency, especially against the top teams, but we have to acknowledge that he’s had it tougher than most at Arsenal.

    Emery didn’t want him, and Arteta kept picking less productive players over him. He would play well one week, then be dropped for no reason. He hasn’t been shown any love from our managers.

    Another important fact is that he’s not had a partner to work with on the wing. It takes time to develop a relationship with your fullback, but how can he, when he’s had about 5 different fullbacks to work with…and none of them any good!

    We finally have Arteta who is still struggling with the attacking side of the game, which is stifling our forward players.

    1. ken1945 says:

      TMJW, Well said and agree 100%

  16. Stephan Luc Larose says:

    Pepe assisted Auba to put us past Man City in the FA cup semi-final and he came back and won the ball back defensively many times. He is a team player, if he “runs into boxes” a lot is because managers are so scared of him they dedicate 2-3 men to mark him. The opportunity is for him to draw players to himself and release other players–which he does. The article, and many of the comments look as if they’ve been written by people who had only read media articles and not actually watched a single game. Consensus of the blind.

    1. Ozziegunner says:

      👍

  17. Johannes says:

    Internet is full of dumb point of views and here is another one.

  18. Rux says:

    Nine out of Ten articles are negative about team and 99% of the comments are very negative. It happens even when we win big matches. It has became a disease that have affected the nature of football which to enjoy the game on match day

  19. Me says:

    Took two years to work that one out..

  20. Jay says:

    Thanks man. In the match against Brentford, Pepe was one of the few players who actually put in a shift. The problem was Chambers who never came up to support the attack on the right wing. Pepe has been improving despite not playing in his natural position. Just because we don’t like a player doesn’t give us the right to make them the scapegoat for every abysmal performance. The team generally had a bad game.

  21. Val says:

    Why now the Pepe bashing?

    He was one of our best players the back end of last season when MA finally started to drop Willian.

    I feel for Pepe, i really do, he would get a start, play really well and then get dropped for willian for 3 games, who played shocking all season.

    Once he started getting a run in the team his game picked, he ran back and helped defend etc etc

    if we had a better manager things all over the pitch would be better.

    I said last year i wanted to see how MA could turn around our pre Xmas form. he done well to get out of that mess with his job but im sorry, a club of our stature and size shouldnt be as lost as we are and playing catch up after game 1, i really do see us on 0 points after 3 games.

    that is not Pepe’s fault.

  22. Logic says:

    I don’t even read this guy’s Article anymore, he is another Areta obsessed and cut off from reality dude who is talented with words. Same as manager he supports just words no output. Yeah ho ahead blame every Tom dick and Harry in the club even blame grass of Emirates… everything is at fault but just not Areta.

  23. Reggie says:

    I suggest the writer gets a list up of right or left wingers in the prem last season that scored more goals than Pepe. Considering Arteta hardly played him in the first 3 months if the season, his return was spectacular. Silly stupid article with nothing to back it up except skewed opinion.

    1. Ozziegunner says:

      👍

  24. Voyageur says:

    Would this article been written this week had Raya not made that fantastic save down to his right off a Pepe shot?

    Or would it have been replaced by one on how Pepe has picked up where he ended last season?

    Football is a game of fine margins.

    1. VasC says:

      👍👏

    2. Ozziegunner says:

      👍 👍 👍 There are many other players who are more deserving of critique than Pepe.

  25. Luthando Mali says:

    Your article is based on 1game evaluation, I remember us being hyped with how Pepe was performing. He will again hit form and I wonder how will you evaluate him then.

    I’m also a Coach and Pepe will come on board…we need not to criticize too much. We have to many flop players and some of them need to be moved because they bring negativity and division and that primarily affects all players in the club.

    So I beg to differ on your opinion, Pepe is a world class player.

  26. Akuta says:

    Yo he is the 2nd fastest player in arsenal and also the player with the most dribbles In arsenal attack

  27. Grantygooner says:

    It’s the inconsistency that’s my problem with him, brilliant one minute, distinctly average the next. I tend to agree with several posts here that, if he was playing on a regular basis & had clear instruction on what his role was then I think we would see a massive improvement in his performance. I don’t think the £72 million price tag has helped, expectations initially through the roof and with the overall poor performance of team, it has singled him out for criticism that he may otherwise have avoided?

  28. Gainsy73 says:

    He looked more dangerous when he moved Into the middle against Brentford when Nelson came on, he has a decent shot and if developed properly he could be the next Henry!
    Just a thought

  29. Andrew says:

    Did you watch Arsenal play? This is purely bad journalism with no substantial proof against statistics and performance. Why are you writing articles? And paid? Is this what this website has come down to? Pepe was one of our best players later half of season. After one game he is a dead weight all of a sudden?!

    1. jon fox says:

      Andrew, Agboola is NOT a journalist, nor is he paid, unless you know something I DO NOT. He is simply writing his opinion. Like you, I TOTALLY disgree with what he writes and think it almost entirely tosh. But he has a right to write, even to write tosh!

  30. sean leung says:

    1. he does not know how to play with RB
    2. he does not know how to use his body and shoulder to defend and dribble
    3. he does not know how to run curly and cut inside before the top corner of box, always run straight to the box bottom side, easy for defender to defend

    change the above 3 points, he will be the world class

  31. Andrew says:

    Statistics. Later half of season. Knows how to score and assist. Argue otherwise compared to other players. Statistics wise better than praised Saka. Give him some slack. One game into the season. Support the team if a true fan!

  32. Andrew says:

    OK… PEPE! our best player later half of last season statistics wise. Prove me wrong! You can’t argue statistics.

  33. tom gunner says:

    Relax guys..cant wait to see your comments after we beat chelsea

  34. Stevie says:

    Pepe is not consistent enough. He has not lived up to expectations. He is not good enough to start and should be brought on as a super sub where I think he will shine. We have not seen his pace as we expected. He loses the ball too often and is a one footed predictable player.

  35. Ayoeverywhere05 says:

    For me @B.SAKA can handle that .#LW better than #N.pepe. MA should give it a try.

  36. Ayoeverywhere05 says:

    Where’s mustaphy?

  37. Ozziegunner says:

    Pepe needs to play down the middle behind Aubameyang. When Emery played him centrally against Liverpool at An field (a game Arsenal lost), Pepe was the only player all season who really worried Van Djik.
    Also under Arteta in the FA Cup against Chelsea, Pepe killed it.

  38. Joe. S says:

    Pepe is not one who you would want to put too many of your eggs in his basket on because he will ultimately let you down. Yes, he can be a useful bit player, score a special goal and add to the team’s mix,but there will always be games where he either traps himself in a corner, is too easily dispossessed or just hasn’t got mind and body working together. Unfortunately these games are more frequent than is normal for someone with the aspirations to be a game changer.

  39. LW says:

    Football is a team sport and pepe is a lone wolf most of the time. I don’t like his uncalled for dribbling and showboating. He is also a below average player. Overated for nothing. Not worth 72m yet we can hardly get 30m for him. I put him in the class of Bellerin and Kolasinac. (Almost Useless Arsenal players.)

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