Arteta impressed by Pepe ‘reaction’ as Arsenal beat Molde
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was impressed by the ‘great performance’ of Nicolas Pepe as the 25-year-old scored in the victory over Molde.
Pepe opened the scoring in the 50th-minute after a goalless first half in Norway.
Joe Willock found him with a deep cross from the left hand side. Pepe brought the ball down before cutting inside and firing the ball into the top corner.
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The Gunners doubled their lead five minutes later as Reiss Nelson joined Pepe on the scoresheet.
Pepe was involved once again, sending Willock down the line with a good through ball.
Willock found Nelson in the box who dispatched of the chance with apparent ease.
Youngsters Emile Smith-Rowe and Folarin Balogun linked up for Arsenal’s third and final goal.
Smith-Rowe played the ball into Balogun in the box, who turned past a defender and slotted home with his first touches of the match.
Speaking about Pepe after the victory, Arteta said: “I am really pleased. Obviously after the disappointment, something negative, you want to see a reaction and to stand out really quickly.
“I could see from the first minute, from his body language, that he was ready to act. I think he had a great performance.
“He scored a goal, he could have scored another one or two. He created some great moments in the game and worked really hard for the team. I really liked it. I am really pleased with that.
“We all know where his level is and all the time the question is how often he can get to that level – and how he contributes to other aspects of the game.
“Today is the example. That should be the level that he needs to hit and from there he needs to keep improving.
“He is capable of doing it and you can see that every time he gets in those positions, in the final third, he is a real threat and a really difficult player to control.”
The win means Arsenal have now gone through to the next stage of the Europa League, continuing their perfect run in the process.