Arteta praises Pepe’s improved consistency

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Mikel Arteta has praised Nicolas Pepe for the improvements he’s made to his game and urged the Ivorian to keep delivering consistently.

Switching between the right and left flanks, the £72 million winger has netted against Southampton and Wolves in the last week and generally looked far more menacing in attack. He’s also caught the eye with some determined work in defence.

In total this season, the 25-year-old has 10 goal involvements (7 goals and three assists) in 26 appearances. Having notched 8 goals and 10 assists in 42 games last season, he now has half a season to reach a new level.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s trip to Aston Villa, Arteta said: “Even when we made decisions not to play him, he kept working hard.

“He has improved in a lot of areas and has been much more consistent for 90 minutes.

“He’s a threat at the moment because he’s been scoring goals, he’s been assisting players, he’s been a real threat. He needs to continue doing that.”

Regular game time in the absence of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang appears to have boosted his confidence. Obviously, this is a positive thing but it also gives the boss a headache now that his captain is out of quarantine and ready to start games.

Addressing the issue, Arteta said: “At the end of the day, we have to play the players who are in the best form and everybody has to earn the right to play and participate in the games.

“That’s what everybody’s doing, pushing each other to raise the level. You can see that the level has been raised because everybody is playing at their best.

“There’s still room for improvement so everybody has to keep pushing.”

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ozymandias

Keep Pepe on the LW

C.B.

Pepe is pepping us up now.

myrtle

Pepe is poppin’

Tierneys tescobag

Good peptalk

Sean

I made a comment before the Wolves game that despite Auba and Saka being fit, I hoped Pepe kept his place. Argument being I think he’s a confidence player & needs to feel the trust from his manager in order to perform as well as we know he can… He’s added a bit of steel to his game, he was tracking back, he wasn’t letting the game pass him by and the cherry on the top was the goal, which let’s be honest, he’s probably the only player in our squad who would have scored that goal in that moment.… Read more »

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

I agree, although I think Saka is capable of a goal like that too

Sean

Ha, ok I’ll give you that. He’s quite fond of a nutmeg (Hi Lazaro)

mrugunner

Tierney too?

Nzini

And Leno

Sam

Keep up the good work Pepe!

Chippy Brady

What has Auba shown this year that merits a start ahead of Pepe? Time to pick on form and not rep

SB Still

Pepe on the left is a good headache to have indeed. However, that’s while comparing Martinelli as the alternative (most of Martinelli’s good work has come from that position), not Auba.

Auba, has a tough job of getting back in, on current form.

However, Arteta wouldn’t want to drop his captain either.

parteytime

However, Arteta wouldn’t want to drop his captain either.”

That’s true. Based on Arteta’s comment above, looks like he’s inclined to keep Pepe in the starting lineup. What I fear though is that Lacazette will be the one dropped here. Since we already have ESR as the playmaker, MA might feel we don’t need Lacazette’s hold-up play and rather opt for Auba’s fox in the box approach.

Boywonder

Auba shouldn’t start .. pepe laca saka and esr behind them is the best 4 currently simples

Man Manny

I think Arteta might give Laca a bit of a rest and start Auba in the middle.
A forward line of Pepe, Auba, Saka (PAS), with Smith-Rowe behind them to make it a PASS, could pass for a deadly quartet.
Worth a punt.

Lack of Perspective

Worth a pun at the very least

Pescetarian

smooth

Elliott

Auba link play is much worse than Laca.

parteytime

worse? more like non-existent. Him and Martinelli need to seriously work on their link up play or else stay away from the starting 11.

Tayo

As juicy as those 4 you mentioned might sound together, Auba’s hold up play isn’t great and that’s essential for the linkup to work well. Having 4 runners isn’t the best idea.

Nightflyer

What about Odegard? He came to play too lol that’s why left Madrid he didn’t want to be on the bench

parteytime

Keep him for the Europa or when you have no other choice. Why should we give minutes to a loanee unless absolutely necessary.

Anthony

I’ll probably get flamed for this. Auba isn’t a good option as a lone striker. Yes in a front two, playing off a proper target man, like Laca, but not on his own Infront of the wingers. I’d like to see how a front 5 of Laca Auba Pepe ESR Saka Would work, though it would mean we would have to sacrifice a player in the middle, probably Xhaka Laca Auba Pepe ESR Saka Partey Tierney Holding Chambers Bellerin Leno But right now, on current form, I’d keep Laca where he is, ESR behind with Pepe and Saka, Auba’s not… Read more »

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

So all he needed was to play on the left. It only took 18 months to figure out, but they got there in the end

bob

Ridiculously reductionist take. More likely he has needed to settle into a new league and its taken until the second season to do that, just like…..practically every flair player moving into the Premier League. As for position, looking at his career and skill set, a fully firing Pepe is at home anywhere along the front line, depending on opposition, and is more than capable behind the striker too. Main thing he is settling and we will start to see him build consistency, because if he stays a threat the whole 90 minutes, game after game, the opposition will leave gaps… Read more »

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

Oh right, it’s just coincidence that he’s now playing well, as soon as he’s switched to the other side. It could never be that simple

dfs

Like it’s just coincidence you’re not downvoted whenever you comment

chepetin

Alright you two, don’t make me stop the car and come back there.

And I don’t care who started it.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

Well in that case you’ll know that I couldn’t care less about down or upvotes. If I did, I’d be saying the usual pundit drivel like “Pepe needs time to settle and adapt to the league”.
I said it how I see it. The boy got switched sides and now he’s playing better.

Now downvote that, boy

Von Zipper

This got me thinking about what “getting used to a new league” really means. There are 3 or 4 – maybe more – different problems to be solved across this league that the various teams throw at you. And they all tend to be pretty good at those strategies (Leicester counterattack, Burnley parking it in a low block, Maureen’s BS, Mancs press, etc.). Third and forth time thru the order is when a Pepe like player can feel the game and cope and excel – and the coach has seen which problem he’s the best solution for.

JB14

I wonder if – with a more creative and productive midfield. Saka, Pepe, Smith-Rowe, Partey, Xhaka all coming into form. We can once again look at Auba through the middle.

Tapps

Tried it. It didn’t work. We need a hold-up player in that role.

John

Plan B I think, when we need to rest Lacazette. Pepe and Auba demonstrated a good understanding with each other on the field last season (haven’t played so much together this season so far). Getting them closer to each other could work, but I still think we’re at our best with someone through the middle who can link play.

Chris

Worth a try I’d say. There was an article here not long ago about a lot of Aubameyang’s career goals coming from being in the right place in the box for a tap in. With genuine width in Saka (r) and Pepe (l) getting cut backs across the box might result in more goals.

parteytime

No experiments unless we have the game under wraps please. Laca up top works very well at the moment and there’s no need to change this for someone out of form, not match fit who offers no link up play and doesn’t bother to get stuck in

parteytime

please keep Auba OUT on current form

Sak, Lac & Craic

Pepe le dude

Arsenalnut

Its clear that Pepe has stepped up his defensive effort two levels. At the beginning of the year he loped on defense. Then he began running to get into position. Now he attacks the ball carriers and anticipates the passing lanes,, That’s a huge plus. He’s also spent some time recently in his defensive box defending his man (along with Laca). Amazing right? I think he’s ben helped by the move to the left and the insertion of ESR. The ball is moving quickly enough that, at present, neither Saka or Pepe are being confronted with two or more defenders… Read more »

loose_cannon

Looks a lot more switched on offensively and defensively off the ball. His movement has improved a lot, allowing him to pick up the ball in dangerous areas where he can really hurt teams, instead of constantly running down blind alleys.

Still not a guaranteed starter with everyone fit and that’s great news, it’s been a long time since we’ve had genuine competition on the flanks.

Dave

Amazing how quickly sentiment can change

Arsenalnut

True and it changed with the visuals and end product. 1. He’s turned on defensively. Check the pressures, interceptions, tackles, and recoveries. 2. It looks like we are actually giving him a chance to succeed offensively through formation and personnel. He’s getting to play with teammates who are successful. 3. He’s providing the goods.

Does he need to continue this? Yes. BTW, what will it take to change your sentiment? Will he ever be able to live up to the transfer fee in your mind?

Qwaliteee

I said this lad would be fine, provided he has the right players around him – i.e. Saka and ESR – not Willian and Elneny.

Pleased for the lad – he has taken a fair bit of unfair stick and is now proving those doubters wrong.

Santori

He’s improving. Maybe not the 72m player but he’s getting it together a bit better. Still needs to work on ball retention but he’s up his off ball work with benefit to other side of his game. Take ons which led to goal somewhat brilliant somewhat fortuitous but hopefully hitting them in gives him a bit of confidence now. I’d say the options out wide would be a combination of Auba left and Saka right or Martinelli in at left side or Pepe on either side. I have little time for Willian. would prefer frankly to give scant moments of… Read more »

Damo

It’s a tough decision but I think we stick with Pepe and Martinelli on the left..Auba and Laca down the middle..Saka/Nelson on the right ( And Willian in solitary confinement)

Arsenalnut

Solitary confinement with restraints.

Five_a_side_a_day

The phrase “Improved consistency” conjures up images of something that was previously runny, but is now more solid.

Could it be that Pepe’s runs on the left wing have magically made him less runny?

On reflection, I’m probably talking shit.

parteytime

Dear god please keep pepe in the starting eleven over Auba.

Gabigol

He is a one dimensional player, however unlike Walcott he is technically secure in possession and has a wider variety of shot and crosses

The work rate off the ball is night and day compared to before, and even that period of massive improvement in his defensive work after Mikel dropped him the last time.

Looking forward to him getting dropped again, get coached and see what he can do.

A Credit to both player and manager now

Gabigol

He is a one dimensional player, however unlike Walcott he is technically secure in possession and has a wider variety of shot and crosses The work rate off the ball is night and day, even compared to the previous improvement in his defensive work (also massive). This all came after Mikel dropped him. Looking forward to him getting dropped again, get coached and see what he can do. A Credit to both player and manager now Mikel seems to know which players need arm around the shoulder and which ones need a royal kick up the butt and which ones… Read more »

ifan

please buy or borrow douglas costa & diego costa

Frankie

One aspect I’ve noticed about Pepe is his hidden ability to win a header from a goal kick his success rate of getting his head on a ball is very impressive… I think it goes unnoticed as most of our attacking players are not very good at it and either jump early or get no where near it…so the ball comes straight back at us…