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Time to Stop Beating on Pepe and Recognise the Real Failures

Nicolas Pepe, fans, Arsenal

Despite what many say, I like Nicolas Pepe and it’s with some degree of irritation that the player hasn’t hit the dizzy heights of his unrealistic and fanciful price tag, but let’s be clear on a few issues. Pepe remains an immensely gifted player who hasn’t had the same time he needed to truly flourish. The systems that have been employed not always suited his game and neither has the change in personnel.

Finally, Pepe didn’t choose the price that Arsenal paid for him, so why keep beating him with it? Arteta seemed blinded by Willian’s promise and decided to play the former Chelsea man regardless of his contribution, especially at the expense of Pepe.

Nicolas Pepe, Arsenal
(Photo by SVEIN OVE EKORNESVAG/NTB/AFP via Getty Images)

It didn’t even matter if the Ivorian showed glimpses of his potential by delivering a decent performance, his place wasn’t guaranteed. With the emergence of Saka, Pepe’s time on the right would become increasingly limited and now with Smith Rowe delivering goals from the left, it’s hard to see how he can fit in unless there is an injury.

Fans have tagged him a one-trick pony, but even they can’t refute the argument I’ve offered in his favour. It now appears the forward could be on his way out of the club and I for one will be sad.

I had suggested here at AD that he could be used in a traditional striker role or one similar to Thierry Henry’s remit under Wenger. One that allowed him flexibility and the ability to roam left, right and centre in pursuit of goal scoring opportunities, but no one seems prepared to take the gamble.

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Sometimes, it appears that Pepe is the victim of inflexible thought, yet Maitland-Niles is permitted the versatility tag, an action that can’t be lost on the Ivorian. Although he constantly has to endure the ‘one-foot’ label, when he strikes the ball fully and sweetly, it is as good as any striker in the modern game but he has to play to prove that.

Call Nicolas Pepe a failure if you like, but perhaps it’s the club and a series of circumstances that have cost him dearly. I for one wish him well and look forward to seeing the best of him in an Arsenal shirt or at another club.

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The Highbury Flyer
Anti Kroenke , anti Gazidis but always a gooner. Still wishes he could watch from the stands at the Highbury library.

2 thoughts on “Time to Stop Beating on Pepe and Recognise the Real Failures

  1. A good player will be ok with any system. If non of several systems don’t fit him then he is not good. He has Abad first touch, one leg that is not effective compared to other one legged players. As such cannot dribble and very predictive.

  2. I couldn’t agree more with the OP, there’s been a combination of things that’s led to him not getting game time, not entirely his fault. The price tag that was paid for him was hefty yes, Arsenal definitely overpaid, but that was under previous management. But he is definitely not as bad as what the haters want you to think he is. Unfortunately every player go through highs and lows in terms of form. And I 100% agree that given the chance, he could flourish in a number 9 role. Rather than searching heaven and earth for a Laca replacement, I reckon he should be given the chance to find his form back up front.

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