Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta delivered his verdict on Nicolas Pepe’s performance against Newcastle United on Saturday.
The Ivorian started his first game in over three weeks at the weekend. Pepe, once again, showed flashes of quality, but he lacked the end product. He tried really hard but failed to maintain a consistent level throughout the 105 minutes he was on the pitch.
Alexandre Lacazette came on in place of him for the second half of extra time and it only took him a little over three minutes to set up Emile Smith Rowe.
That raised questions over Pepe’s long-term future at the club. Bukayo Saka has nailed down the right-wing spot after three incredible performances there. Arteta has backed the 25-year-old to come good soon, but he also hinted that he will only get the ‘next few months’ to prove his worth.
Pepe needs to show what he’s capable of in the next few months
Arteta told Goal: “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.”
“I think it is hard to make a 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.”
The second part of Arteta’s comments on Pepe show a lot of support but his opening statement has got the fans talking.
Arteta saying ‘Let’s see how the next few months develop’ has made many supporters feel that the writing is on the wall for Pepe unless he really proves his worth in the next few months.