Nicolas Pepe may have helped himself to a goal and assist as Arsenal beat Molde 4-1 at the Emirates but the Ivorian still needs to work on his consistency, according to Mikel Arteta.
Playing in his 53rd game for the Gunners, the winger, who joined for a club-record £72 million in the summer of 2019, took his goal and assist tally to 11 and 12 respectively.
While his numbers are creeping in the right direction, the fact that he’s started only one game in the Premier League this season highlights that he’s yet to earn the full trust of the boss.
Asked what the player has to do to get more game time, Arteta said: “Consistency. Throughout the game, throughout 90 minutes, every ball, in every action and every time he’s on the ball in the final third he [needs to] make a difference. And do it more and more and more.
“The final product has to be better, not just from him but if you want to become a top top team and score many more goals then it’s something we have to put higher demands on at the moment.
“Today he scored a really good goal and got an assist and he can do more. I think he’s on the right path.”
The boss went on to make clear that he wants that consistency from all his attackers not just Pepe and new boy Willian, on whom the spotlight has also fallen in recent weeks after a couple of low-key performances.
“It’s not just Willian or Nico, I think in general consistency-wise in the final third, with the quality that we have, we have to finish more things better. We can improve a lot.
“That goes for every player, if Nico scores three goals then his aim has to be to score 10. Willian the same, three assists? He needs 10. If we don’t have that mindset then we won’t become the top team that we want to be.”
In the same press conference, the boss admitted that his side is not scoring enough goals but stressed that he and the squad have, in the last couple of weeks, turned their attention to improving on that front.