The manager of Arsenal football club Mikel Arteta has urged the most expensive player at the club, Nicolas Pepe, to be more consistent during matches if he wants to establish himself in the team’s first eleven.
Pepe who joined Arsenal from Lille on August 1, 2019, has been having it rough under Mikel Arteta this season. It has gotten so bad for the Ivory Coast footballer that he has managed to start in only one Premier League match out of 6 this season.
The 25-year-old right-winger has however played in all Arsenal league games mostly from the bench and has registered one league goal for the club.
On Thursday, October 29, Nicolas Pepe was given a rare opportunity to start Arsenal‘s Europa League match against an Irish side, minnows Dundalk at the Emirates Stadium, and he made good of the opportunity by scoring the third goal in Arsenal‘s 3-0 win over their guests.
Pepe’s 46th minute goal on Thursday made it the second time he has scored for Arsenal this season out of 10 appearances in all competitions. This is not so impressive from the perspective of the club’s manager who expects the 25-year-old right-winger to do more for the club.
“He’s not been the first choice in all of the games at the moment but he’s played a lot of moments,” Mikel Arteta said after last night’s game. “Some have been better than others.
“It’s about finding the consistency, not through the games but during the games as well to be more incisive, and do the right things on many occasions when he has to make the right decision on the pitch.
“It’s nothing to do with his attitude. He’s a player who takes risks, a very creative player – that’s the most difficult thing in football, when the opposition knows what you can do, how much they want to prevent the space, and creating situations from that is complicated.
“But sometimes it’s the simple things, the deliveries, the number of situations he’s able to create or attract and then make the right decision to keep evolving that phase of play. For example, the finishing, the position inside the box, he has to be more consistent at it. We’re working on it, and hopefully, he will be doing it much more efficiently.”
Mikel Arteta and his boys have a very huge task this weekend as they will have to travel to Old Trafford to play against Manchester United in the Premier League. Based on Nicolas Pepe’s performance in the Europa League on Thursday, Arteta might be tempted to start Arsenal’s £70 million-man for the second time this season.
Arsenal that is currently occupying the 11th spot on the league table and Manchester United sitting on the 15th spot on the league table will both do everything possible to win the match. Hence, Arteta will need an A-list performance from Pepe if he is given the chance on Sunday.