Written by Christopher Papadopoullos
🗣Arteta on Pepe: “Even when we made decisions not to play him, he kept working hard. He has improved in a lot of areas & has been much more consistent for 90 mins. He’s a threat at the moment because he’s been scoring goals, he’s been assisting players, he’s been a real threat”
The reality is that Nico Pepe came with a lot of expectations at Arsenal. That was reasonable considering the transfer fees and the potential of him as a player. Taking into consideration the very bad situation Arsenal was last year, I did not expect a new player to make the difference and carry the team for the season.
Beginning this season with a stronger squad, Nico found it difficult to establish himself in the starting eleven, and I believe that this decreased his confidence level and certainly impacted his consistency.
Coming into the present we are starting to see the real Nico Pepe. Beginning with the positives off the ball, it is clear that he is more hungry than ever to win the ball back when we lose it, and he is really working hard when we press. He is also started to follow the opposition’s full-backs when they are become more attacking, in order to provide help to our fullbacks.
When he is on the ball, I can see that he has improved his decision making a lot. He knows what he wants to do as soon as he is on the ball. He is not getting confused as he used to before. For example, he can identify better whether he has to shoot, dribble or pass based on the situation. That was the main drawback in his play-style, and its improvement has already lead him to more assists and goals.
The improvement of Pepe will be getting bigger, especially as he is putting more minutes under his belt. He will be very crucial for our success in the future, and he will need to step up and contribute to return where we belong. I certainly believe that he deserves our time and patience in the near future and that he will soonly meet our expectations.
I am sure that Mikel will find a way to make him fit more into the team and get 100% out of him.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
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