Arsenal drew against Crystal Palace for the second time this season when the two teams met on Saturday. A glance at the result will give off an impression that the only different thing this time around was that the Gunners threw away a one-goal lead, not two. But if you’ve seen the two games in full, you should be able to tell that there was much more to it.
It’s fair to say that having arrived in the summer for £72 million, Nicolas Pepe’s impact at Arsenal can be rightfully described as underwhelming, disappointing even. The 24-year-old winger has scored only four times in 20 appearances in all competitions so far.
The newly appointed boss Mikel Arteta has provided some explanation to that. Every player needs the right environment to settle into new surroundings, and Arteta believes Pepe found himself in a situation very different than that when he came. The atmosphere in the team and the rest of the club seemed far from stable even looking from the outside, and as the season unfolded, it only got worse with Unai Emery’s future at the club less certain with every passing week and controversies around different players popping up here and there.
Arsenal apparently made a mistake when they spent £72 million on Nicolas Pepe, and should have put that money towards tempting Harry Maguire from Leicester City. That is according to Charlton Athletic boss Lee Bowyer, who bases his stance on a rather obvious fact that the Gunners had no problems upfront in recent years, as opposed to what’s been going on in defence.
Speaking ahead of his team’s trip across town to the Emirates, Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson has revealed that the transfer of Wilfried Zaha to Arsenal was never close to actually happening.
Arsenal were known long-time admirers of the Ivorian, whose pace and trickery are certainly a reason for worry for any defender he may be facing, not least Arsenal’s on Sunday. And the Gunners have long been searching for a player like that. Remember, manager Unai Emery spoke about it openly near the end of last year, when Arsenal were being linked with the likes of Yannick Carrasco and Ivan Perisic. As it turned out, they only managed to bring in Denis Suarez on loan from Barcelona, with a reported option to buy at the end of the season.
Arsenal were expected to tear through Vitoria SC last night with relative ease, continuing their perfect record in this year’s Europa League in the process. Alas, it wasn’t quite as simple as that, and with not all that much time remaining, they were actually facing the very real possibility of a loss.
Then, Nicolas Pepe was introduced into the chaos and with around ten minutes remaining, he completely turned the game on its head with two remarkable free kicks. The £70m+ star has struggled to really settle at the Emirates ever since arriving back in the summer, but it’s safe to say now that he is ready for the big time – and ready to carry forward his momentum into the Premier League and beyond.
Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka has called on supporters to remain patient with the club’s record signing, Nicolas Pepe.
Pepe arrived this summer for £72 million as a marquee signing, but his form in the Arsenal shirt still hasn’t hit anywhere near the level which was seen at Lille, and which convinced the club to part with that kind of money to beat off competition and acquire his services. He has made 11 appearances so far, nine in the Premier League and two in the Europa League, and managed to score only once – and even that came from the penalty spot.
The international break has pros and cons, most of which we’re all pretty aware of having been football fans for a long time. While we worry about Arsenal players sustaining injuries that could seriously harm their season, there’s also another side of the coin. That side is that players from within the squad are capable of giving themselves a much needed confidence boost heading back into the domestic game.
Nicolas Pepe should be given time to adapt to playing for Arsenal, according to former Gunners boss Arsene Wenger.
After failing to land Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace this summer with two bids reportedly rejected for the Ivorian, the club moved on and signed Pepe from Lille for £72 million. Since the start of the season, the 24-year-old has played in every competitive game apart from the 5-0 thrashing of Nottingham Forrest in the Carabao Cup. His total at the moment stands at one goal and three assists from 10 games, eight in the Premier League (six starts), and two in the Europa League.
On 1 August 2019 it was announced that Nicolas Pépé would be joining Arsenal for a club record fee of £72 million, beating the previous record of £57 million held by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Pépé’s story is certainly one shared by many youngsters who dream of getting the chance of their lifetime and becoming accomplished and successful football players. In Pépé’s case, however, the dream is coming true. He will now play as a winger for the Gunners, wearing the shirt number 19.
Despite the early signs announcing a highly frustrating summer transfer window this year, the club have pulled up their socks just in time, abandoned to fruitless Wilfried Zaha chase and grabbed Nicolas Pepe of Lille ahead of a number of other suitors.
The financial details of the deal haven’t officially been disclosed, but a number of reports claim the fee the Gunners will be paying for the winger’s services amounts to £72 million. So much for the £45 million transfer budget stories.