Thursday, December 7, 2023

Arteta sees big developments in Pepe, backs his Arsenal future

Although Nicolas Pepe didn’t start either of our first two Premier League games, Mikel Arteta sounded a positive note about the club’s record signing ahead of our trip to Anfield on Monday evening.

The Ivorian was involved in midweek, showing strength and persistence to force an own goal in the Carabao Cup against Leicester, and the Arsenal boss is pleased in general with what he’s seeing from the player.

Admitting he had a lot to deal with in his first season in England, including the £72m price-tag, Arteta insisted that the 25 year old can produce good performances on a consistent basis for years to come.

“I think he’s come a long way, Nico,” he said. “Obviously we know what the club paid for him when he joined and that was obviously an extra pressure.

“He’s player that had to adapt to a different style, but he has a really good attitude. We can see big developments in a lot of phases in his game.

He’s very settled here, he’s liked by the boys, he’s a really good character to have around and I’m really positive we’re gonna have him for many years, and that he can perform to a high level consistently.”

The arrival of his former Lille teammate, Gabriel, is something also Arteta views as beneficial.

“I think for both of them they know each other,” he said. “They’re spending some time together now, so I think it’s a positive.”

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Wouldn’t suprise me to see him start in a counter attacking formation against the mugsmashers. Likely:

Nonetheless, I would be very tempted to shift Auba to the middle and play both Willian and Pepe here and just crush them on the break. An unexpected move, maybe the trick to jolt them out of their zone. Could also see Saka for AMN, but AMN does bring a little more defensively, which will be critical.

John G

I can gaurentee you Willian is going to start based on his experience


Great Idea

A Different George

One key to beating Liverpool is to force Alexander-Arnold back from his advanced position where he ends up so open that all his successful passes (and there are many) look like free kicks. So, Aubameyang racing down the left, with Tierney joining in, is vital. And Alexander-Arnold, for all his qualities, is a poor one v one defender; he definitely needs help from Gomez or a retreating midfielder. And that creates space for Pepe/Willian plus Lacazette and an advancing Maitland-Niles–Van Dijk can’t mark all of them. I’m am not saying we will beat Liverpool if we do this; I am… Read more »


Good stuff, but I would make three changes to that. First, I’d go with Holding over Luiz on that right hand side of the defence. Holding is more suited to that side of defence than Luiz, not to mention that Gabriel and him seem to be doing just fine so far, so why fix it if it ain’t broke. Secondly, I’d put Saka in for AMN, as having an unphased youngster with a capacity for deciding the game in any given moment can be a huge asset to have, and against a Liverpool side that is very liberal with the… Read more »


Ceballos has done really well in these bigger game, defensive, counter-attacking structures. So by your own definition “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Where I would be interested to see Elneny is alongside Ceballos in games against mid-to-lower table teams, where I think his greater mobility, two-footed ability, and quick passing game will help us both with possession and against the break than Xhaka in those games. But Xhaka has definitely proved his worth in these defensive formations against the big teams. Holding has been solid, but so has Luiz in these big games and his passing range could… Read more »

mohit mandan

Lineup I want to see –

All 3 of the attackers have pace to get behind liverpool since they play a high line defence.


Like the suggestion – it would be good to find a way to play Pepe and Willian in the same team


Good boy, too expensive but good China friendly guy.


What do you mean by China friendly guy?

The Kolkata Gooner

China glass maybe?

Adrian Drum

Alex is Ozil supporter and Pepe did not criticize China so he is in good books with China. That’s what he mean I think.

Johnny 4 Hats

Not if Star Wars posters and perfume adverts are anything to go by…

Hide Bort

Please explain, man. My head is hurting.


China is source of Covid 19


Pepe has a lot of positives, fast, strong, energetic, skilful and now experienced in the UK. I think he can keep on stepping up this season and scare defences. Looking forward to it.


Agreed and if he can learn to cross with his right foot that would be a massive bonus, be more effective and wouldn’t need to keep coming inside on to his left foot.


72 million and he needs to learn to cross with his right foot. jesus wept


joebus wept?


Nobody fucks with the Joebus…


Yeah, well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.

Eddie Ritchie

Arjen Robben did just fine,as I recall.


Key to that was the threat of overlapping full-backs. We need that more from Bellerin (or the tactical demand of it) with Pepe as Stillman rightfully pointed out in his latest blog.


Pepe seems to be one of those that really need a good manager behind them.

Man Manny

I guess that “good” is spelled p-a-t-I-e-n-t.


He has had this manager for half a season. Let’s hope he can focus Arteta’s confidence into even better perfomances this year. Still, I suspect we may wait for a player worthy of a record breaking fee and get just a really good player.


But… But… I just dropped him from my fantasy team…


Will do the lad a world of good


Never had him. As an arsenal fan, i want him to score 20 goals 20 assists but as an fpl enthusiast i prefer rodriguez more.


This man can really cause havoc in any teams’ defence. But I think he should work on his weaker foot as well so that he can even be more unpredictable. If we have a even better midfield creator, he can be unleashed even more.

Pune Gooner

Just for a reminder, Pepe had performed even better than Hazard, when he joined us.

I really hope he starts delivering at same level. May be a little advanced and center position will help him, but trust in Arteta.


Pepe will be Premier Player of the Season in the next few seasons if he can develop the belief to be the best and consistenly perform in every match. He has the skills and flair, he just needs to develop the killer mindset. I’m hoping Arteta and the team can help him find it. He is as good as the best when he is firing on all cylinders.

Dave cee

Not exactly effusive praise. He gets along with the other players, he knows Gab…
In truth he has been underwhelming so far without being a disaster. I still believe the talent is there but I would love to see him display it consistently over 90 minutes game in game be honest I am not sure our personnel up front really suit his qualities. A work in progress and hoping for the best, the 1st time finish in the Cup final shows what he can do. Hopefully he will grow into the team and the league


Good news. The more cynical among us may say that a high, consistent, level of performance should be expected given his huge fee (particularly as reports circulated that there was a big overpayment in that fee). Let’s hope we can see what a £70million+ player can really do, week in and out in the PL.

Teryima Adi


Teryima Adi

I believe we have our Salah in Pepe. ***bated breath***


He has to step up more because we peg that on his price tag. If the club got it wrong then we’ll all be disappointed and who’s fault would that be?

Players who want to be great don’t rely on ideal conditions to show their quality. Even with how things are now in the team Pepe should be performing much better than he is.


He’s getting better and better. But for that offside call he would also have had one of the all time great FA cup goals to his name too.

Frank Bascombe

Nice one Drew.


Glad to hear it from the Boss. Pepe frustrates me with his refusal to use his right foot, but I’m hoping he can be coached out of the bad habits.

Dave cee

I wonder if we could strap some kind of electro shocker to his left leg in training and everytime he uses his left foot Arteta can give him a zap?


Raul ruined pepe’s career by paying 72m. He is not worth than 35m.


Strange days. Liked by the fans is not an element anymore.

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