Nicolas Pepe is encouraged by Arsenal’s performances under new coach Mikel Arteta and revealed the Spaniard has been helping him with his on-field positioning.
After a slow start to life in England under Unai Emery, the Ivorian is now getting consistent game time (he’s started four consecutive matches) and there are signs that the penny may have dropped when it comes to helping his teammates defend from the front.
There is definitely room for improvement – collectively we’re still creating far fewer chances than we should be – but Pepe thinks the relationship he’s striking up with Alex Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil is strengthening and that he’s benefiting from one-to-one time with Arteta.
Speaking to Arsenal.com about life under the Spaniard, he said: “Things have been going positively so far, we’ve got some good results and have been playing good football.
“There has certainly been some encouraging signs and we know that we do have quality and we have what it takes to do well on the pitch.
“Mikel Arteta has explained to me what he would like me to do on the pitch and he has shown me videos that have stressed the importance of my positioning. He has told me exactly what he would like me to do to help me progress as a player.”
He added: “We want to do well as an attacking force. We want to perform well on the pitch, score goals and get assists. As a team, it doesn’t matter who’s getting the goals and who’s getting assists, but the important thing is we are playing well together and getting results.
“It’s great to play with such players [like Lacazette, Aubameyang and Ozil] and it’s been working rather well. We are good with linking up with each other and we’re capable of playing good football.
“We support one another on the pitch and as an attacking player it’s always great to have someone like Mesut Ozil feeding passes into you so it’s enjoyable.”
While we take onboard Pepe’s assessment that it doesn’t matter who gets the goals, it would be nice if we got more and spread them out a bit.
So far this season Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been doing the heavy lifting. He’s scored 14 Premier League goals compared to the combined total of eight achieved by Pepe (3), Lacazette (5) and Ozil (0).