Having arrived, from Lille Football Club in a club record deal for the player, in the summer of 2019, with lots of expectation resting on his shoulder, The Arsenal faithful were not expecting their record signing to have scored just five goals by this time of the season.
Having expected to replicate his 23 goals and 12 assists for Lille last season for the Gunners, It has been a turbulent start for the Ivorian international.
He was eased into the starting line up in Premier League for action by then Arsenal’s coach Unai Emery, only to starting his first match in his team’s third game of the season, since then it has been a massive struggle for 24 years old.
With massive inconsistency defining his debut campaign, the jury has already come out for Nicolas Pepe, and being tagged as a flop that is unwilling to put more effort, rather laze around.
Adapting to a new culture in a different league is always been something of concern for most footballers. Different tactics, new system, different faces, another culture entirely can make footballers that just got transferred to a new team consistently drops average performances.
Playing Premier League for Arsenal carries more weigh than Playing for Lille in French Ligue 1. So many eyes are on him, Media, Large fan base, rival expects you to consistently keep giving something that wow the crowd every time. His superb display in the 3-2 win vs Academica has only been the Nicolas bright side since he moved to the Emirate Stadium, having scored two fantastic free-kicks in the game.
Difference in tactic and system has been major problem for Nicolas Pepe since he moved to Arsenal. Lack of support while holding on to the ball has prompted Pepe to lose possession on numerous occasions since his move. Arsenal lacks industrious Right Full back to complement what Pepe can bring to the table. Chambers and Maitland Niles lacks the attacking ability to complement the effort of Pepe during the reign of Emery.
Recently improved performance since Arteta took over as the Gunner’s coach has been a blessing for the former Lille’s star player. He revealed that the Spanish coach has been helping him to improved adapting to the new philosophy.
Speaking to the Arsenalfcblog about life under the Spaniard, he said; “Things have been going positively so far we’ve got some good results and have been playing good football. Mikel Arteta has explained to me what he would want me to do on the pitch. Score more goals and assist a lot”.
His man of the match display against their arch rival on the New year day has made the Arsenal fans believe in his talent and what he can bring into the table. With the return of Hector Bellerin from long-time injury has really helped Pepe to complete so many dribbles with ease and also improved his ball retention.
He combined so well with Spanish international full-back in London Derby vs Chelsea which prompted Arteta to hip praise on the winger. With improve way of Arsenal showing in recent games, a player like Pepe is really needed to make the system work.
His dribbling ability and vision would only make things easier for the new coach’s idea to work effectively. Game by game, Minutes by minutes, Pepe games have been improving at arsenal since Arteta was appointed. It is only a matter of time before the whole Arsenal’s fan base to see the true potential of Nicolas Pepe to start coming fruition