If there’s one Arsenal player who has been proving people wrong over the last few weeks, it’s Nicolas Pepe.
The Ivorian is our record signing and his transfer fee has put a ton of pressure on his shoulders. What Arsenal paid for him isn’t entirely his fault, but it is safe to say that he hasn’t lived up to his price-tag.
Pepe has scored 15 goals and has provided 13 assists in 68 appearances in all competitions. That, on paper, simply isn’t good enough, but it is important to note that most players need time to settle, especially when they come to the Premier League.
This season, Pepe has seven goals and three assists to his name in all competitions. He is just one goal shy of equalling his entire tally from last campaign, and recent form suggests that he will do that quite comfortably.
The former Lille man has scored twice in his last three starts. He is getting closer and closer to his best, and despite all the criticism he has received from pundits and the media this term, his stats aren’t too bad compared to some of the big names in England.
Pepe has a better record than Rashford, Sterling and Mane
Pepe averages a goal every 180 minutes in the Premier League this term. That is a better return than the likes of Marcus Rashford, Sadio Mane, Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus.
Although four of the above five have scored more goals than Pepe (Jesus has scored the same number), they have played more minutes than him, and are often in the conversation when people talk about the best attackers in the division.
Pepe might not be ready to join the elite list just yet, but he deserves more praise than he has actually received. He has started just seven times in the league, and a return of four goals is not a bad record at all.
The Ivorian now needs to maintain this form until the end of the season. There is absolutely zero question over his talent, it’s just his consistency that has let him down. He seems to be on the right path now, and if he can carry this on, he will end up having a fine campaign.