Opinion: Pepe's Arsenal frustrations justified

Matthew Chivers November 11, 2020
Opinion: Pepe's Arsenal frustrations justified
Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Arsenal winger Nicolas Pepe has admitted that he would like more game time under Mikel Arteta.

Pepe last started a Premier League fixture in Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad on 17 October.

Although the Ivorian has struggled to find consistent form in North London, more time on the pitch could be the cure.

Outperforming teammates

In Arsenal’s last two league fixtures against Aston Villa and Manchester United, Willian has been chosen ahead of Pepe.

Since his impressive debut on the opening day against Fulham, Willian has failed to build on that performance.

Despite his experience and having won the Premier League twice with Chelsea, Willian has failed to register a goal or an assist since the first league game.

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Arsenal signed Willian on a free in August in a deal that will see him play for the Gunners until he is 35.

On the contrary Pepe has been more consistent this season with three goals and two assists in all competitions.

These may not be groundbreaking numbers but the 25-year old can produce quality moments and goals of class, as he has proven before.

A heavy price-tag

Arsenal signed Pepe for a club-record £72 million from French side Lille in August 2019.

His overall record for Arsenal is a respectable one, he has scored 11 goals and made 12 assists in 54 appearances for the Gunners.

A player bought for this much money should produce more than just a respectable record, however, the transfer fee brings pressure.

Such a fee is arguably the source of the fans’ frustration however the price-tag is not the player’s fault.

In Arsenal’s 2-1 win against Sheffield United on 4 October, Pepe came off the bench to score a nice goal which effectively won Arsenal the match.

It is these glimpses of brilliance that justify a starting place for Pepe, and consistent selection could be the key to his quality.

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Graduated from the University of Liverpool in 2019, and has since become a qualified NCTJ journalist, studying at News Associates in Manchester.