What is Arteta’s problem with Pepe?

Inconsistent Pepe Needs Consistent Minutes by AI

What is the club’s plan for Nicolas Pepe? If it is for him to be an impact sub while the likes of 31-year-old Willian and 32-year-old Aubameyang start on the wings, then all is well and there is no point in this article. But if the club intend the 25-year-old to inherit a position on the flank and be a central part of our future going forward, then what is currently going on is detrimental to that plan.

Let us all retain perspective about last season. It was our worst for a decade and more. We had three managers and rows with at least 3 players. We finished the season outside of the top 6 and dropped out of the Europa League in the Round of 16 against some Greek club. Pepe finished his debut season with 19 goal contributions. That was not exactly great but when you look at it in the context of one of the worst seasons in the modern history of Arsenal Football Club, the output is actually decent.

Then there are the awesome moments that remind us of what we paid for. Two stunning freekicks in the dying minutes to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, the performance against Manchester United, that soul-snatching nutmeg against Burnley, that mazy run in a difficult match against Leeds in a competition we later won, an assist for Lacazette in the North London derby, and the pass to Aubameyang for the decisive goal in the final of the FA Cup against Chelsea. Clearly, Pepe is an extremely talented player. Clearly, he does not hide in important games and, clearly, he did not do so bad for a debut in a terrible Arsenal season.

We signed Willian in the summer transfer window and he has promptly taken Pepe’s place in the squad. Willian has never reached 19 goal contributions in his past seven seasons for Chelsea. In fact, against Sheffield United, Pepe, brought on to play a few minutes in the end, was the one who unlocked the Sheffield defense with a mazy dribble and shot.

For doing that, Nicolas Pepe was rewarded with a place on the bench against Manchester City. Against Leiceister City when Willian could not play, Aubameyang was dragged out to the right flank.
Pepe is not the singular solution to our attacking issues but he’s certainly not responsible for the problems. He clearly has more direct goal contributions in him than Willian. He is not going to reach his potential if he is not trusted. He is not going to give us what he has without consistency.

Consistency births consistency. Players like Mane and Salah were given consistent minutes in Austria and Italy before they reached their potential. Pepe clearly has plenty of talent in him. Enough talent for him to reach superstar status for Arsenal. But he is not getting enough minutes. And for what?

Agboola Israel

Tags Nicolas Pepe


  1. We paid well over the odds for a so so player.
    Personally at this time I don’t think he is anything special at all. If it wasn’t for his price tag nobody would give a monkeys.
    Arteta would never have given the go ahead for this signing if he had been in charge at the time.
    That money could have been spent a lot better.

    1. Brad I’m a fan of arteta, but please stop all this arteta hype, the man is a young coach who is just trying to make a name for himself. Any coach can make a mistake in signing player, why did Arsene Wenger signed Xhaka when Kante was available, why did he waste 35 million on Mustafi, the season he signed petr cech we needed a top striker but he didn’t sign any, I can go on and on. And for a player that was involved in 19 goals in his first season I really don’t think he’s that bad, people keep talking about Zaha, I’m not sure he’s ever gotten 10 goals a season or even 10 assist a season.

      1. I might need to see all Pepe’s goal involvements last season to understand why he’s been so bad in this season and his corners are atrocious as well. He can’t even cut inside properly like the prime Sanchez, Mane, Salah, Mahrez, Jota and Sterling, let alone do fake shots and go to the byline

        Pepe also assisted Aubameyang for our final goal in FA Cup final, but we all know it was just a simple pass. Ceballos won an aerial duel, Bellerin sacrificed his legs to dribble past several opponents and Aubameyang scored with a brilliant technique

        In short, Pepe is lousy in one-on-one situations. We need a winger who’s good in duels

    2. Emery didn’t either I think somebody got a backhander for signing him not a EPL player and i think never will be

  2. Beautiful article Agboola, I also believe that Consistency births consistency but the coach doesn’t seem to trust him too much and if your coach dont trust you much there’s nothing you can do to change that. I mean it’s not like Willian has been better than him this season but he keeps getting chance , same with Mustafi who just returned from injury, he’s been used ahead of Saliba. Any player who can be involved in 19 goals in his first season is not a bad player.

  3. @Agboola Israel,

    Love this article. You expressed my long time thought.
    We need to give Pepe more minutes on the field of play for his confidence to resurge.

  4. Our attacks in many games ended up with Pepe lose the ball because of his bad control and because the opponent stole it. I don’t need many stats to see that Pepe can’t even cut inside properly on many occasions

    Willian, Saka and Nelson have better close control. So one of them should start on the right wing, until Pepe improves his ball control and first touch

  5. My honest take on Pepe is very simple he is not as talented as we first thought and seems a level below gervinho

    1. I think most Arsenal fans recognise that we paid well over the odds for Pepe but that he has a lot of natural talent which has yet to be unleashed.The question is how can Arteta bring out the best of Pepe in what is a very demanding League compared with the French equivalent.With a wand of a left foot, to me, Pepe will be far more effective on his natural side or indeed as a central striker.Due to injuries to his two central forwards, Guardiola has already utilized Torres, who was a conventional right winger in Spain, as C.F and apparently he has done well in his two outings in that position.Working with Pepe on a daily basis, MA should be aware of his potential to be versatile more than any fan, but from the outside a plan B is definitely needed , as he is not going to be effective for Arsenal stuck out on the right wing. I really hope Pepe finds his way with us as he has most of the attributes needed to be a successful footballer.His work rate has improved considerably since he arrived and hopefully his first touch will become more assured as he gains in confidence which is vital at this level.

  6. MA is in a hurry to deliver so has no time to allow Pepe to come up. Then he gives so much minutes to Nketia without any results.

    Time will tell

  7. granted Peppe is lost and confused but why single him out? The question should actually be be what is Artera problem with the offense?

  8. Calvert Lewin is a different player under Ancelloti

    Raheem Sterling was missing sitters at Liverpool until he met Pep but he’s a different player now

    Salah wasn’t someone to be scared of until he met Jurgen Klopp

    Hummels Rodriguez lost his confidence but with the help of God and a good coach he’s a different player now

    Kai Harvetz is not playing at the level Chelsea expected but the coach has trusted his talent and keeps playing him and he’s adapting

    Until you trust Pepe, he isn’t gonna deliver

    And to be frank that is super talented
    He just need the trust from the coach and guidance in some few aspects

  9. In the first place Arsenal , why did Arsenal buy Willian? What has been his contribution to the team in comparison to Pepe, despite playing more minutes in Arsenal first six matches. We are well aware of the potential of Pepe, who, was involved in the scoring of 19 goals last season in first year in the premier league. But, Arsenal was also stocked with (young talents) wingers like Saka, Nelson and Martinelli ,who all, have shown great promise and potential. Instead of giving old players that have passed their best, huge pension contracts,Arsenal needed to strengthen the midfield and defense first. Arsenal still need a creative midfielder like Houssem Aouar and an attacking midfielder that scores goals and provides assist like Dominik Szoboszlai,to complete the fixing of the midfield. With that said, Edu and the board got Arsenal Willian, whose position was not a priority(first signing of the season) , who, now blocks opportunities for young talents that stunches their growth and development. Experience and confidence is gained from playing games consistently. While, I acknowledge Willian’s quality, I still believe that he is a wasted investment, as the club has greater needs, Arsenal must stop looking at quick fixes,which are quite expensive and invest more in the development of the club’s young talents . Be brave Arteta, give our youngsters more opportunities, if they are the future of the club.

  10. Agboola Israeli, you’ve come again to flatter us Gooners’ thoughts to wet our savoring in our appetites before we watch our beloved Arsenal team beat Man Utd in the PL this evening at their Old Trafford Stadium backyard.

    The beating of they the Red Devil Vampires by our dear Gunners will certainly quenched our thirst as us crave to have a win over them the Red Devil Varmpires of Manchester United for the first time in 14 consecutive PL campaign seasons.

    If Arsenal play to a high efficiency caliber in the game today, and are tactically and technically astute in their playing in the match and are disciplined in their organization as a team on the field of play, I don’t see any reason whatsoever that will hinder Arsenal from beating Manchester Utd today. For. I strongly believe Arsenal will make the beating happen unfailingly.

    More so, as us the Arsenals will not want to see ourselves to further fall behind the leaders in the table more than the four points we’ve fallen behind them at week six stage in the campaign. So that us will avoid doing a difficult catch up play to catch the leaders up has make our beating of the Vampire Red Devils that are residing in Manchester town more imperative for the Gunners to accomplished today if Arsenal are to maintain the status quo today albeit with a win in the PL today’s evening.

  11. I know the trouble with Pepe. He was a big fish in a small pond and now he moved to a small fish in a big river

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