Nicolas Pepe answered Mikel Arteta’s demand for consistency with £ 72m man’s stellar showing in the cathartic victory of Arsenal against Newcastle
- Nicolas Pepe answered Mikel Arteta’s plea for consistency against Newcastle
- The Arsenal star scored the second goal of the match and also placed two assists
- Pepe was a constant outlet in a cathartic 90 minutes for the player and manager
- The wideman has scored six goals in his first 28 games despite battle
Mikel Arteta is not one for mixed messages.
When the labor pains of Nicolas Pepe were increased before the Newcastle visit, the Arsenal boss left little room for nuance.
“He must have a much clearer picture of the things happening on the field, why they happen and how he can solve them,” said Arteta.
Nicolas Pepe responded to Mikel Arteta’s demand for consistency in the win over Newcastle
The £ 72 million star earned Arsenal’s second goal of the match after converting a low delivery
Pepe apparently needed two things to shake off the £ 72 million millstone that has been hanging around his neck since a summer move from Lille.
The first was help: signing records would not affect games unless there was a platform for the people around him.
The second fell directly at the feet of the attacker: be more consistent. Only then will the goals and assists arrive. Only then will he ‘earn’ the series of games he really needs.
Both parties answered his call in the space of three second half minutes on Sunday.
Pepe Pierre-Emerick first found Aubameyang with a curled cross towards the rear post.
It was all too easy for Newcastle, but the visitors were warned.
Pepe has trouble shaking off his price tag, but justified Arteta’s decision to give him a start
Pepe’s left foot was a constant outlet for all games. So when Danny Rose and Allan Saint-Maximin got away from him, it was not surprising that he found his husband – and the skipper of Arsenal did the rest.
Then the helping hand came.
On Sunday, Bukayo Saka was relentlessly on the left and Valentino Lazaro left his fast feet rather stupid on the edge of the box.
While the left back looked up, Pepe went into the room. Saka fired into a low cross and stroked the ball home. With that, Arteta returned to the couch, gave a huge fist pump and hugged his staff.
To complete a cathartic 90 minutes for player and manager, Pepe then had a hand in the third by Mesut Özil and put the ball on a board for the fourth by Alexandre Lacazette.
Pepe also imposed two assists in a cathartic result for both the Ivorian bettor and boss Arteta
Make no mistake: this was a huge win for the Arsenal boss. Yes, football and mood had improved in these parts since the dismissal of Unai Emery.
But after one win in his first seven league games – and four in their previous 23 – the results had to follow.
And while another game was driven by frustration, it was extra sweet that Arteta’s call was answered so emphatically.
Especially after an important token of confidence from the Gunners boss.
After their mini-break in Dubai, Arteta made the big call to give Eddie Nketiah a first competition start in red and white.
It would have been easy to sacrifice Pepe, who has become a clear lightning rod for much broader discussions on issues in North London.
Pepe scored six goals in his first 28 appearances, despite difficulties in adapting to the top flight
Instead, he left Lacazette on the couch, despite the last nine league goals from the Frenchman now coming to the Emirates.
For Pepe these are now six goals and six assists in his first 28 Arsenal appearances. Hardly crushing earth but a basis to build on, at least.
As Arteta indicated, there is no shortage of signings with a lot of money that have difficulty adapting to life on these coasts.
More screens like this and Pepe can’t be there.