Unai Emery got it wrong, Wilfried Zaha isn’t a better player than Nicolas Pepe

Unai Emery has revealed via the Guardian that he wanted Wilfried Zaha and not Nicolas Pepe, but the club ignored his preference and signed the winger from Lille.

I think the coach’s choice or preference should never be overruled by the club because that shows that you don’t trust the manager’s judgement.

However, looking at how both players have faired this season, I don’t think Zaha has proven to be a better player.

One of Emery’s arguments is that Zaha knows the Premier League, and he has single-handedly won games for Crystal Palace on many occasions.

With that being said, Zaha should have had a better season than Pepe and the fact that Zaha is at an age when a player is considered in the prime of his career, he should have shown Pepe how it is done this season.

But their stats tell a different story. Pepe has widely been regarded as a flop this campaign, yet the Ivorian has had a better season than Zaha.

Zaha has played 29 league games for the Eagles this season, he has just three goals and five assists.

Pepe has played 24 league games for Arsenal and the winger has chipped in with four goals and six assists.

In all competitions, Zaha has three goals and five assists from 30 games, while Pepe has six goals and eight assists in 32 competitive games.

Zaha is one of the most talented players in the Premier League, but Pepe deserves some credit for his contribution in a debut campaign and Unai Emery has to reconsider who he thinks is better suited for the competition.

An article from Jacob B

Tags Nicolas Pepe Unai Emery wilfried zaha

20 Comments

  1. jon fox says:

    The writer chooses not not to take into account the fact that Zaha plays for a much inferior team than Arsenal, so all things being equal could not be expected to achieve as much as Pepe. Just saying, as true thought before writing does aid one in penning a better quality article, I suggest!

    1. ken1945 says:

      Beat me to it Jon, I would also ask the question:

      If any club were offered Pepe or Zaha for the same price and at the same salary and contract time, which player would be the most popular at this moment in time?

      I seem to remember that we were the only premier team after Pepe, but here was a lot more interest from said league when it was thought Zaha was available.

      1. Sue says:

        👍 Ken and Jon

        1. Dan says:

          Can’t agree with the writer
          If Zaha played for Arsenal he have more of the ball , more chances and better players in the final third
          Don’t get me wrong Zaha hasn’t had his best season but it’s a bit strange boasting that Pepe has one more goal.and assist in the Prem

      2. MrLucky says:

        Tbh, Zaha would have been a better fit with Artetas new tactic where he uses an inverted winger on the left and a winger who sticks to the side line on the right.

        I totally agree with you both about Palace being the weaker team. I also want to add that Emery wasnt talking about who was better or who had the greater potential, he just said that he wanted Zaha cause he was already used to prem and didnt need to accomodate like Pepe would

  2. Phil says:

    Not a very balanced view. Zaha plays for a lesser team, and he’s coming off the back of a summer where it looked for a long time like he would be leaving – it’s no surprise to see him not hit the same heights after that.

    Also, I don’t recall Emery saying Zaha is better at all, just that Zaha was his preference based on him being already used the Premier League.

    1. ken1945 says:

      Your second paragraph is quite correct Phil, I can’t find anyone saying that he did in the replies either by the way… but can I ask what he means when he says he was “forced to sign Pepe” in another article?

      He was the coach and we had the new regime doing that side of things, or so we were told.

      If he meant he was “forced to play Pepe” it proves the point that his English was a real problem as well.

      I hope he finds a new club soon, at least he will stop trying to justify himself.

  3. Grandad says:

    The age differential was undoubtedly the factor which influenced a preference for Pepe who is at least the equal of Saha in most aspects of the game apart from “diving” where he is clearly second best.

    1. SueP says:

      Grandad
      You’re on form tonight!!

  4. Drayton says:

    Zaha has 3 years on him and loads more PL experience. If given the choice today, I’d stick w Pepe. He’ll come good under Arteta. Perhaps LW suits him better, but he showed plenty of talent and ability for me. He’ll be a star for us soon, and it was the correct decision to buy him over Zaha. That said, yes, the article doesn’t account for the fact that Zaha plays for an inferior team…though I’d also point out that we were about equal w Palace under Emery and only 1 point separates us now.

  5. Glorious says:

    Leave sentiment apart,
    Zaha is a better player,
    Zaha would have made us look better if had been signed. I hope Pepe will come good as soon as possible because that is what we have at the moment

    1. Sue says:

      I have to say, I used to have sweet dreams at the thought of Zaha, Laca and Auba (& Ozil behind them!)

  6. Roachie says:

    Zaha is a great player, Pepe may become one. What worries me is if Pepe becomes a great player he will be hard to keep.

  7. Shakir says:

    Pepe needs time(under a proper manager)
    Everytime i hear the name Zaha,i remember the rugby tackle geundouzi made on him😂

    Man that is hard to forget!!!

    1. Sue says:

      🤣🤣 You’ve gotta love Guendouzi, he loves to get stuck in!!
      Cahill said that ‘rugby tackle’ saved us a point 😆

  8. Adeleke says:

    You got to be kidding me. Who is this great player (zaha),that almost everyone is waxing lyrics about? For crying out loud pls let’s be fair,the only advantage zaha has over pepe is being accustomed to the league than pepe. If u really understand football,u will know Pepe is head and shoulders above zaha. I hope he shows this soon enough. Zaha is just above average.

  9. RSH says:

    They’re both really not as great as people make them out to be… If Zaha is better it’s not by a large margin.

  10. Jah son says:

    If Zaha is that good then why is he stuck at Crystal Palace . Barcelona, Madrid, Chelsea, City,Pool soooooo many top teams with loads of cash. But no let’s get Zaha and play him ahead of Aubameyang,Martinelli and Saka on that right because……….

  11. Drayton says:

    “Zaha is a great player” haha 😂😂

    There’s a reason he plays for Palace. Up Pepe! You talent you…

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