Arteta Man-Manages Pepe To Perfection! By Dan Smith
After his moment of madness at Elland Road, many were waiting to if there would be a reaction from Pepe. If the winger had gone through the motions in Norway, we would have spoken about Arteta’s failures to man-manage our record signing.
Some assumed that’s what would happen, the midfielder putting his head down, feeling sorry for himself. That would have been the narrative after every wild shot he smashed wide in the first half. We would have added him to a concerning long list of names our manager has given up on.
So it’s only correct we point out a positive individual display.
Against Molde, Pepe scored in a man of the match performance. To do that just three days after a red card would have taken world class man management. Already struggling with his confidence, the Ivorian’s sending off was largely responsible for the dropped points at Leeds.
His boss wasn’t shy in saying his actions were ‘unacceptable’.
Since then he’s been subjected to racial abuse online.
The saddest part of that is in 2020, a player getting racially abused is no longer newsworthy or turns heads. It’s like we have accepted that’s the culture we live in.
So for him to demand the ball as much as did yesterday and try to make things happen, suggest he might have a stronger mentality then we thought.
Areta’s reputation needed this as well.
Some will say it’s only Molde, but the coach (still learning in his rookie year) has shown he can tell a talent when he’s wrong, but within a few days give out the support to get a response.
Some thought the Spaniard might have left the African at home for Thursday’s trip. Others went as far as to say the club will listen to offers in January.
This track record comes from giving up on the likes of Ozil, Guendouzi, Sokratis and, to an extent, Saliba. That contradicts what his reputation at Man City was where his strength was said to be his 1-1 coaching.
Yet at the Emirates he’s asking the club to pay a lot of money for talent to sit at home.
Ozil though, I maintain is for non-footballing reasons. Having failed to sell a centre back one had to be dropped, hence Sokratis. Saliba, to be fair, may be based more on personal reasons than professional.
Freezing out Pepe would have been wrong and counterproductive. I’m not sure he speaks English, he’s away from his family and just seems to have lost his smile.
Effective leadership is knowing when the time is to be hard and when to be soft. By the time he went to training on Tuesday, the poor lad had been blamed enough.
His poor discipline can’t be compared to Guendouzi. Guendouzi’s initial response to lose to Brighton was to boast about his salary. I can understand how that shows a side to someone’s character you can’t work with.
Pepe on the other hand, while inexcusable, his actions were in the confines of a match, it happens. He also apologized, something Guendouzi apparently refused to do.
Many were starting to even accuse our manager of having favourites, questioning why he was so critical of Pepe, but not to others who have underperformed.
Of course the answer is there is a major difference between someone not playing well, to someone pushing their head into an opponent when VAR is watching.
Would you have been happier if he did a Arsene Wenger and ‘didn’t see it’?
Arteta showed his disappointment on the Sunday, but by the Thursday had Pepe producing his best performance of the season.
It might turn out to be a crucial week in the 25-year old’s footballing education?
Pepe showed some character after adversity. Too many were quick to assume he and his boss didn’t have that character.
I think both the player and the manager needed that?
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