Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta is willing to help Nicolas Pepe improve and succeed with his team, having picked out what the Ivorian forward has to do for their upcoming games.
The Ivory international moved to the Emirates Stadium during the summer transfer window in 2019 from Ligue club Lille for £72 million, which is a club-record fee. While he has delivered his moments of brilliance, his inconsistency with the Gunners seems to have overshadowed those moments.
Having netted 8 goals and provided 10 assists in his debut season with the North London club, the 25-year-old attacker was expected to improve – but reality proved to be ruthless as he continues with his struggles in the Premier League this campaign, to the point of being shown a red card against Leeds United.
Speaking to the media, Arteta said via Sky Sports: “We need to help him to (succeed). 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. Let’s see how the next few months develop.”
The Ivory Coast international has found the back of the net three times in the UEFA Europa League this season but has only registered four League starts under Arteta and he made no impact whatsoever in the Gunners’ 2-0 victory against Newcastle in the FA Cup outing as he was subbed off when the match was in a stalemate.
Pepe was an unused substitute in the North London club’s last two victories in the Premier League, and they will be hosting Crystal Palace on Thursday as his compatriot Wilfried Zaha will be leading the team as they battle for three points during the week, fans can bet on Arsenal here as they seek to improve their position in the League.
The Gunners were understood to have chosen to pick Pepe over Zaha for transfer when Unai Emery was in charge, but Arteta has asked for the fans and media to remain patient for their club-record signing.
He continued: “I think it is hard to make a judgment 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.”
In other news, Arsenal remains hopeful about Gabriel Martinelli’s injury as he will be undergoing a scan.
Martinelli succumbed to an ankle injury during the warm-up for their Saturday game in the FA Cup third round against Newcastle, leading to him being replaced by Reiss Nelson in the starting lineup.
At first, the Brazilian injury seemed to be serious as he was spotted putting on a protective boot while watching the game from the stands. However, Arteta delivered his opinion after seeing the 19-year-old forward at the training grounds on Sunday.
“We don’t know how bad it is, he’s getting a scan this morning,” Arteta said on Monday. “He didn’t look good after the game because he was in a lot of pain, but yesterday he tested a little bit better. So let’s hope he has the scan and it’s not as serious and we can have Gabi back really soon. But we will know more on Tuesday.”
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