Arteta pinpoints how Pepe can stay in his Arsenal line-up
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta claims Nicolas Pepe needs to be consistent in “every action” if he wants to oust Willian from their Premier League starting XI.
Pepe – who joined Arsenal from Lille for £72million in 2019 – has scored just 11 goals in 53 games for Arsenal and is struggling to assert himself under Arteta.
However, the Ivory Coast international – who has only started one Premier League match this term – was man of the match as Arsenal came from a goal down to beat Molde 4-1 in the Europa League on Thursday.
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When asked what Pepe needs to do to stay in the Arsenal team, Arteta said: “Consistency. Throughout the game, throughout 90 minutes, every ball, in every action. And every time he’s on the ball in the final third he [needs to] make a difference. And do it more and more and more.
“The final product has to be better, not just from him but if you want to become a top, top team and score many more goals then it’s something we have to put higher demands on at the moment. Today he scored a really good goal and got an assist and he can do more. I think he’s on the right path.”
On why Willian is still preferred to Pepe in his Premier League line-up, Arteta added: “I said to you that I am talking generally. It’s not just Willian or Nico, I think in general consistency-wise in the final third, with the quality that we have, we have to finish more things better.
“We can improve a lot. That goes for every player, if Nico scores three goals then his aim has to be to score 10. Willian the same, three assists? He needs 10. If we don’t have that mindset then we won’t become the top team that we want to be.”
It might well be the biggest weekend of the season so far. The two biggest title contenders finally clash in a long-awaited meeting, but will Leicester or Wolves come out on top? Liverpool also play Manchester City or something apparently.
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