Arteta – Pepe needs more game time to thrive

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has vowed to help Nicolas Pepe succeed in his time at Arsenal, and stated that the winger needs more playing time to flourish at the club.

Pepe joined Arsenal from Lille in 2019 in a deal worth £72million, making him the club’s record signing.

In his first season, he scored 8 goals but has struggled to make a mark and establish himself as a mainstay in Arteta’s first eleven.

Arteta criticized the Ivorian for being sent off in the draw against Leeds before Christmas. However, due to the injury to Gabriel Martinelli and Willian’s poor run of form, he may find himself playing more games.

“We need to help him to (succeed),” Arteta said. “In order to do that he needs minutes, he needs consistency in the team and when he has that, he needs to show he is capable of doing it.

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“Let’s see how the next few months develop.”

Pepe has scored three goals for Arsenal in the Europa League this season but has made just 4 starts in the Premier League. He struggled in the Gunners’ last game against Newcastle in the FA Cup before being withdrawn.

The 25-year-old has been named on the substitutes bench in the last two top-flight wins but was not used. He’ll see his side face compatriot Wilfried Zaha when Crystal Palace come visiting on Thursday.

It can be recalled that Unai Emery preferred to sign Pepe over Zaha. Regardless, Arete has called for patience.

He added: “I think it is hard to make judgement on some players that haven’t played many minutes over the last two or three weeks and to throw them in and expect them to be the best player on the pitch.

“I don’t think it happens and Nico tried. He tried all the game and had some really good moments – moments where he could have scored two or three goals.

“In a normal circumstance and with his ability in those positions, he puts the ball in the back of the net. He didn’t do it but I think his contribution overall was good.”