Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta urges record £72m signing Nicolas Pepe to ‘find the consistency’ and be ‘more incisive’ if he wants to earn regular starts after netting brilliant strike against Dundalk
Nicolas Pepe has been urged to find more consistency in his game by Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta if he wants to become a regular starter under his leadership.
Pepe scored the pick of the goals as Arsenal overcame Irish side Dundalk 3-0 in the Europa League, with Eddie Nketiah and Joe Willock also netting for the hosts at the Emirates on Thursday.
The Ivorian winger, Arsenal’s £72million record signing, rolled the ball brilliantly onto his right foot on the edge of the penalty area before striking home into the top right corner.
Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe has been urged by Mikel Arteta to ‘find more consistency’ to his game
Arteta insists the Ivorian winger needs to be ‘more incisive’ in the final third for the Gunners
Pepe will now be hoping to kick on under Arteta, having only featured once in a starting line-up so far this season in the Premier League.
And Gunners boss Arteta, who has repeatedly publicly spoken about his hopes for Pepe at the club, has urged him to be ‘more incisive’ and make the ‘right decisions’ in the final third if he wants to become a regular starter.
‘He’s not been first choice in all of the games at the moment but he’s played a lot of moments,’ he said. ‘Some have been better than others.
‘It’s about finding the consistency, not through the games but during the games as well to be more incisive, and do the right things on many occasions when he has to make the right decision on the pitch.
Pepe strikes into the top right corner to score the pick of the goals as Arsenal beat Dundalk 3-0
‘It’s nothing to do with his attitude. He’s a player who takes risks, a very creative player – that’s the most difficult thing in football, when the opposition know what you can do, how much they want to prevent the space, and creating situations from that is complicated.
‘But sometimes it’s the simple things, the deliveries, the amount of situations he’s able to create or attract and then make the right decision to keep evolving that phase of play.
‘For example, the finishing, the position inside the box, he has to be more consistent at it. We’re working on it, and hopefully he will be doing it much more efficiently.’
After arriving at the Emirates from Lille in a mega-money deal, there was plenty of hype surrounding Pepe as Arsenal ended up going for the Ivorian over Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha.
Pepe celebrates his fine Europa League strike with Ainsley Maitland-Niles at the Emirates
However, Pepe has struggled to live up to expectations, showing glimpses of magic but not enough on a regular basis.
Since his arrival in the summer of 2019, the 25-year-old has featured 52 times for the club in all competitions – scoring 10 goals and producing 11 assists.
Following his wonder strike on Thursday, Pepe will be desperate to kick on and will hope that his display will be enough to convince Arteta to start him against Manchester United away on Sunday.
The Gunners head into the Premier League fixture in poor form, having lost three of their last four top-flight matches.