Arsenal might have signed both Wilfried Zaha or Nicolas Pepe in the summertime of 2019. They selected Pepe…
The Gunners introduced within the highly-rated winger from Lille for a club-record £72million final 12 months however Pepe has did not make his mark at Arsenal.
He joined the Gunners off the again of scoring 22 Ligue 1 targets and offering eleven assists within the French high flight in 2018/19 however might solely handle 5 targets and 6 assists in 31 Premier League appearances final time period.
Pepe has one aim and no assists within the Premier League this time period and is presently serving a three-match suspension for a headbutt on Leeds participant Ezgjan Alioski final month.
Whereas Pepe is usually well-disciplined, the incident epitomised his 16 months at Arsenal thus far.
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In distinction, Zaha continues to be Crystal Palace’s star man and he was close to his finest throughout their 5-1 win at West Brom on Sunday.
Zaha, an Ivory Coast teammate of Pepe’s, scored twice whereas additionally forcing Darnell Furlong into turning the ball into his personal internet with a fizzing cross from the suitable.
The 28-year-old solely managed 4 targets and 5 Premier League assists final time period however already has seven strikes to his identify this season.
However the place is all of it going improper for Pepe? Arsenal legend Nigel Winterburn believes the Ivorian worldwide’s essential subject lies along with his lack of taking up full-backs he’s up towards.
The previous left-back advised Free Tremendous Ideas: “With Nicolas Pepe, we’ve seen glimpses of what he can do, and I’d prefer to see extra of it constantly. Once you’re in these vast areas you should ship targets and alternatives, and he does do this.
“For me for the time being, Pepe is struggling to adapt. He’s a participant that’s acquired great capacity on the ball and to beat gamers, I might identical to to see it extra constantly for Arsenal.
“Being a full-back myself, the one factor that you simply didn’t need within the opposition is a large participant that’s going to ask questions of you for 90 minutes. I don’t assume Pepe’s asking sufficient questions, defensively, of the total backs and wing backs that he comes up towards. He’s enjoying too protected and is just too static.
“There’s actually expertise there, however it’s as much as each the participant and the group to attract that out of Nicolas Pepe. We introduced Willian into the squad as properly and know he can play in a number of positions, however normally he’s enjoying on the suitable facet. So, Pepe might really feel that he’s been pushed out of the group somewhat bit already.
“I take a look at the gamers mentally and attempt to work out what they’re considering. Pepe got here with an excellent status however was struggling to ship on it.
“Then abruptly Willian has been given his place and now he can’t get a lot sport time, it might’t be straightforward for him in that facet. Nonetheless, Pepe must ship extra, is the easy reply.”