Arsenal star Granit Xhaka faced the media today ahead of our clash against Benfica in the Europa League tomorrow.
The Swiss international has been in brilliant form since Boxing Day. He has been one of our best players in that period and his performances will be crucial for any success we’ll have from now until the end of the season.
Xhaka was quizzed about Nicolas Pepe in the press conference today.
The Ivorian was forced to play on the left-wing by Mikel Arteta and he surprised everyone there. All the success he has had in his career has come from the right, and not many people expected him to do well on the opposite side.
It is fair to say that Pepe proved many people wrong and Xhaka believes that the left-wing role suits him a lot.
The midfielder told Football London: “Pepe is very important for us. He looks very good on the left if I’m honest. He made the difference in the last few weeks. He’s very fast and can run in behind.”
Pepe on the left or right?
If it was up to Pepe, he would probably choose his natural right-wing role every single time. However, his best performances in an Arsenal shirt have arguably come on the opposite side.
With Aubameyang now getting a consistent run of games through the middle, it won’t be a surprise to see Pepe pushed to the left every time he gets a chance. That offers Arsenal a better balance, but he still has a lot to improve.
It will be interesting to see if Pepe gets the nod tomorrow. The chances are slim considering that Arteta is likely to play both Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard together again, but the Arsenal boss might surprise us, just like he did when he pushed the Ivorian to the left.