25 Feb 2022 | 15:19 | Football
Pepe and his first interview at Arsenal
This morning, Nicolas Pepe only took 11 minutes to fill in the scoreboard from the bench. More than 80 minutes earlier, Arsenal had launched 22 shots but their efforts were unsuccessful.
Statistics show that Pepe’s goal came from an assist from Eddie Nketiah. To be fair, it’s a faulty horizontal stretch. The ball went to fix Pepe’s back and made this player not have a one-touch shot opportunity. However, Arsenal’s 19th star had a genius touch to correct his teammate’s mistake. His smooth spin stunned the Wolves defense and what followed blew up the Emirates bridge.
“Since he came back, I’ve seen another Nico,” Mikel Arteta said after the match against Brentford. This is not a cliché of encouragement.
Pepe was much more confident after the CAN Cup goals. He started in the three most important matches of Ivory Coast in January and scored 2 goals and 1 assist. In the final match, Pepe did not score but was voted “Player of the Match” by Whoscored. Unfortunately, Pepe’s team stopped before Egypt on the penalty spot.
“Last week I told you that I saw another Nico (Pepe). I don’t know the specifics, but seeing the energy, the fun, the overall play and the way he trains, I feel convinced. I’m amazed that Nico can come on and bring something to the team,” Arteta repeated his view of Pepe earlier this morning.
It can be said that Pepe did exactly what Arteta expected against Wolves. Pepe made the Wolves defense tired with tricky sloping balls. When the number 19 was on the field, Arsenal hit 9 shots and 3 on target. It should be remembered that 70 minutes earlier, the Gunners had only collected 3 shots on target.
Like Anthony Elanga of Man Utd, Pepe is gradually becoming a super-sub for Arsenal. Arsenal had intended to push the player away in January. The contract between Pepe and the host team is also valid until 2024. As Arteta said, Pepe seems to have realized his role in the second half of the season. He accepted with the role of “super-sub” and played with the biggest explosion. Of course, this is still not what Arsenal fans expect from a player worth 72 million pounds, but at least Pepe saved his own career after the moment he scored against Wolves.