Nicolas Pepe hasn’t exactly had it easy since arriving at Arsenal for a record fee of £72 million, spending much of his time attempting to prove the doubters wrong, and failing to live up to the hype. Since Arsenal’s return to action, however, the Ivorian has been the one shining light in a fairly dim part of Arsenal’s history. And, although he has only shown short bursts of what he is capable of, Pepe’s return to action has been a promising one, one that can propel him towards greatness at Arsenal.
Why Nicolas Pepe’s Recent Form Can Propel Him to Greatness at Arsenal
Big Game Moments
Despite the constant criticism by fans and pundits alike, Pepe, when Arsenal needed him most, stepped up this season. When Arsenal were losing 2-1 to Vitoria in the Europa League, Pepe produced a stunning set-piece brace that can only be described as incredible; the record signing stepped up to send two free-kicks into the back of the net to give his side a 3-2 victory. Since then, he may have struggled to recreate this magic, but, with more game time, a hero’s performance from Pepe could become a regular occurrence.
Just recently, he produced another moment to remember with an incredibly placed strike against Brighton & Hove Albion. In the end, Arsenal lost the game despite the equaliser, but, again, it was a sign of Pepe’s clear potential. And, it is this growing ability to produce a moment of magic out of nowhere that Arsenal so desperately need. If Mikel Arteta can get the best out of Pepe, Arsenal will finally have their Alexis Sanchez replacement.
Outperforming Previous Premier League Debutants
With 16 goal involvements this season, Pepe has already bettered the debut seasons of previous Premier League stars. In Mohamed Salah’s debut season at Chelsea, he managed just four goal involvements in ten league appearances and 20 in all competitions, a number Pepe is on course to reach this season. So, why the constant criticism of Pepe?
Well, the price tag of £72 million had people expecting greatness from the start. In reality, however, the Ivorian was always going to take time to settle. Arsenal knew when signing him that they had a player who, eventually, could become the star man, something he has shown many signs of becoming.
The fact is, with every game, Nicolas Pepe is improving and sooner or later, he will become the star man that Arsenal fans are so desperate for.