Arteta: Pepe has my full support all of the time

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Mikel Arteta has backed Nicolas Pepe to bounce back from Sunday’s red card against Leeds and says Thursday’s Europa League clash with Molde is a perfect opportunity to show what he’s made of.

The Spaniard was incensed by the way the Ivorian got himself sent off in an off-the-ball clash with Ezgjan Alioski but he’s prepared to forgive and forget after the player offered a public apology to his teammates and the supporters.

Facing the press in Norway, Arteta said: “We’ve all had disappointing reactions in our playing careers and obviously we were frustrated because when you play against a team like Leeds for a long time with 10 men, it makes a huge difference. Even more with the way they play.

“He [Pepe] had a really good reaction, the way he apologised, the way he understood his responsibility and hopefully tomorrow we can see the player that we want to see, and have a good reaction to help his team.”

Asked if the 25-year-old had apologised privately, he added: “Absolutely right, he did it. He did it personally and he did it publicly. That’s done. Let’s move on. We all make mistakes, we all make decisions when we are in the middle of the heat. It’s about the reaction, what we learn from it individually and as a team, and moving on. That’s it, we need to focus on the next game.”

When it was put to Arteta that some people believe Pepe’s Arsenal career is hanging by a thread, the boss was pretty dismissive.

“No, it’s absolutely not [the end of his Arsenal career after the red card]. It’s not about that and I don’t like that type of statement. I will give Nico my full support all the time.

“He knows where he has to improve and we all know his qualities. He has some responsibility, I have a lot of responsibility, which is to get the best out of him and get the best position for him, the best areas where he can do what he can do with the ball. I cannot fault his effort at all.

“You see the way he strives for the team, the way he’s working, it’s been the best since he’s been at the club. But there have been some aspects he can do better in because he has the ability.

“That’s where I’m going to put the pressure on him to deliver what he can do. To say it’s a threat for him to finish his [Arsenal] career… it’s not at all like that.”

Arteta went on to reaffirm that getting the best out of Pepe, doesn’t just come down to the player. It’s a test of his credentials as a coach.

“Absolutely [it’s a joint-responsibility],” said the boss. “The club made a huge investment on him and people expect a lot from him because he has this quality.

“I said many times with the strikers and attacking players, it’s the most difficult thing to be consistent when you have to create, when you have to unlock the door, when you have to score goals or get assists.

“This is why he’s here and he needs to embrace this challenge, and go for it. We have to provide the best possible and ideal scenarios for him to be able to do that.”

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Tombo

This really is getting blown out of proportions. Just media stirring the crisis pot. I saw reports of loans in January, ridiculous. Red was stupid but if we ditched every player who made a mistake in a game we’d have no one left haha

Atom

The broader issue is for whatever reason Pepe doesn’t seem to be a player Arteta rates. He was playing well near year end and is one of our only real goal threats but we went out and signed Willian to effectively replace him this summer. Pepe has found chances very difficult to come by despite pretty poor play from Willian. Martinelli was another player who wasn’t finding a whole lot of PL opportunities under Arteta either. It might be case of Arteta prioritizing structure over creativity.

Artetas Assistant

Who told you he was bought to replace him. Times like this baseless assumption I wanna wack a guy in the head with a paddle (Arteta sees everything we see, we don’t see everything he sees)

atom

From the first PL game this year Willian has almost always been preferred to Pepe on the right hand side vs. playing in more of an attacking mid position that many thought he was being brought into play. I’m not really sure any other way you can read it other than Arteta clearly wasn’t entirely happy with Pepe or he wouldn’t have bought Willian to replace him in the starting 11.

loose_cannon

Martinelli I understand a little bit, Arteta saw him as Auba’s understudy on the left and when he got that red card, Martinelli was the player that replaced him. Playing Willian ahead of Pepe on the right makes less to me.

Cultured Determination

I think end of the day we need 2 creators in the team. Pepe and saka are the only creators. We usually have 1 or zero creators from midfield. Unless we stick partey at the base and play 2 creative CMs ahead (which we dont have) or we play q creative winger. Saka/pepe/martinelli rotation wing with auba/eddie up top to stick closer to the box.

Biggles

Yes, but it’s not just the sending off with Pepe, is it. Without rehearsing all the arguments it’s clear that he hasn’t lived up to expectations for a variety of reasons. I think the fact that Arteta now needs to “defend” Pepe a little above and beyond what would normally be expected indicates that there are serious underlying issues. Doesn’t mean he’ll be loaned out in January of course, but we have to find a way to get a much higher level of performance from him.

Artetas Assistant

Not how I read this. He whacked the guy hard in the head in public probably after a while of mollycoddling. I think Pepe is the opposite of a Mikel and Mikel is a guy who goes for the throat from any scenario, while Pepe wants to get the perfect scenario and perform absolute magic there; at the top of the game, it’s a Ronaldo vs Messi analogy

Artetas Assistant

It’s crazy man. Pepe is going to be a monster and Mikel is giving him the kick in the butt he deserves including playing him outside his best position (challenging times for Pepe) until he buckles down and does a job anywhere. This guy is best guy we’ve got in that counterattacking Top 9 position, close to Aubas left channel. The Right management for this monstrous talent who like AMN seems stuck in his head sometimes. Can’t wait till he’s smiling every match after making a meal of CBs.

“Which defender has given you a huge challenge? None “

Samu

Agreed, the fact people think we bought Willian at 32 on a free on a 3yr contract to replace a season old 24yr old 72 million investment is laughable.

Artetas Assistant

I can’t deal 🤦🏽‍♂️

A P

Can you elaborate what Willian is bought for? Because I don’t think MA’s process calls for a headless and lethargic chicken.

Ambazonian Gunner

So do you think a 32 year old would be bought to be an understudy to a 24 year old? Even if that was the case, as ridiculous as is, why then is the “supposed understudy” starting every game over the “main man”?

Let’s face it, Arteta brought Willian to bench Pepe, hoping for instant impact from the “experienced” 32 years old. Unfortunately, it is proving to be a woefully failed venture and the earlier Arteta realizes that fact, the better for all.

Cranky Colin

I like this article!

Sparkyrowe

Fair enough. Actions speak louder than words though and as has been mentioned the arrival of Willian is an action that suggests Arteta has not been and possibly never will be ‘fully supportive’ of our record signing. He does look very much the confidence’ player, hope he has the resolve to overcome this and prove himself the player I think he can be for us.

William

Actually I feel that the fact that we bought Willian actually feels like he trusts Pepe and wants to give him more chances and learn from William’s experience. If he didn’t believe in Pepe, he would have tried for someone younger and long term. Willian won’t be playing past this season

Sparkyrowe

That’s not a bad point to be fair mate, with one caveat. Why the 3 year deal for Willian?

Teryima Adi

You would have to ask Edu that.

Cultured Determination

He cant. Cos edu will have to ask raul, who has changed his number and rode off into the sunset with his band of agents

Cultured Determination

My thoughts exactly

Artetas Assistant

They’re not even the same type of player or position

Charlie

I know this is Arteta saying all the right things, or what he’s expected to say, to some extent, but I still find this reassuring. Let’s hope that this is a low point in Pepe’s career at Arsenal and he uses it to turn things around. I think it’s also worth remembering that we have been pretty dysfunctional going forward basically all season, and for those saying Pepe’s not proving his worth on the field, which of our attackers is really? At least he tries stuff which is more than we can say for some people whose name rhymes with… Read more »

Appels&Pere

Agree.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

I don’t rate Pepe but this team isn’t blessed with talent, so he will be needed. No point in getting on his back and abusing him

Artetas Assistant

You’re not good at picking gems from the mud are you

Frog

Still can’t believe we paid that much for Gervinho v2.0

Martin

He’s vastly superior to Gervinho. Seen enough of him to know he will make good

goongot

Gervinho was good in france and italy(roma) but struggled at arsenal. Same can be said about pepe till now.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Gervinho is even more of a dribbler than Pépé. He wipes opposing players from the field like dust on a table. The lack of end product is his big weakness.

Artetas Assistant

You just copy what’s on the internet and bowl with it eh

Godfrey Twatsloch

The lad issued an apology and that’s good enough for me. Just sit the three matches out and then we turn a new leaf. Done and dusted!

Teryima Adi

Wishing you all the best with Pepe, Arteta.

Sean McCoy

I agree that it was a stupid red card action. Headbutts should always be a red. I havent seen one person remark on how much if an acting job the leeds player did to even get the play noticed. I think there should be a yellow card issued to ANY player embellishing to that extent. That guy acted like he broke his nose then was fine a soon as the ref went to check VAR. Stuff like that is just really bad sportsmanship in my opinion. Again no excuse for what Pepe did but without that reaction we wouldnt even… Read more »

loose_cannon

Most of my Arsenal supporting friends have written Pepe off, I’m not there yet myself but patience is running thin. The talent is there but at 25 years old you really need to be putting it all together. How he handles this situation will tell us a lot about his future in the game.

Cultured Determination

So we d have sold vieira like 10 times if he were playing for us in 2020?

Toona

This whole thing is ridiculous. Dude got sent off, big deal! Made a mistake and got a red…uhm, happens every week in footie! Making him apologize privately and publicly is way overblown…

Also time to start giving him a regular start. Kid will never find his groove being pulled in and out of the team and shoved into the wrong position every time he plays…he has big talent…let’s start using it…no more Willian!