Mikel Arteta explains why Nicolas Pepe isn’t getting “opportunities” at Arsenal


Nicolas Pepe has made just two brief substitute appearances for Arsenal since October and the situation has forced Mikel Arteta to explain his decision-making on Friday

Video Loading

Video Unavailable

Arteta quizzed about Aubameyang as Arsenal defeat West Ham

Mikel Arteta has offered an explanation for why Nicolas Pepe is struggling for game time at Arsenal recently.

Pepe has made just 10 appearances in all competitions so far this season for a combined time of 669 times on the pitch.

The 26-year-old finished last season in good form, scoring five goals in as many games, but has slipped down the pecking order this campaign, contributing just one goal and three assists so far.

See also  Chelsea transfer round-up: Casemiro linked as 'next Eden Hazard' backed to make switch

He has been used just twice off the bench since recording an assist in the 2-0 win over Leeds United on October 26.

Pepe’s lack of action comes in spite of the recent freezing out of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang since losing the captaincy .

Mikel Arteta was asked about Nicolas Pepe’s situation on Friday


Sky Sports)

The Ivory Coast international was signed for a club-record £72million in August 2019, but that transfer fee is not being reflected in his status as an expensive benchwarmer.

Arsenal manager Arteta claims the treatment is nothing personal and says that the Gunners’ lack of involvement in European competitions this season is to blame.

“It’s with all the players that they are not having enough minutes,” he said.

“Obviously with the amount of games we have are having, there’s not enough room for all those players.

“With Nico’s situation it’s something similar. I’ve highlighted on many occasions it’s because of what I see every day. That’s with Nico as well.

“But he needs more opportunities to show what he can do and in the last few games, he hasn’t had them.”

HAVE YOUR SAY! What do you make of Mikel Arteta’s management of Nicolas Pepe this season? Comment below.

Nicolas Pepe has been stuck on the Arsenal substitutes’ bench recently


Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arteta has been fielding Bukayo Saka on right wing in recent matches, with Alexandre Lacazette leading the line and Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Martinelli supporting.

Eddie Nkeitiah was used off the bench, ahead of Pepe, in the recent 2-0 win over West Ham, despite the young forward’s contract expiring in the summer.

Pepe is under contract with the club until June 2024 and the snub led some fans to question whether the former Lille man had fallen out with Arteta recently.

Arteta was asked about the substitution decision in Friday’s press conference ahead of the Premier League game against Leeds on Saturday evening.

“I understand that,” the Arsenal manager replied.

“Again, I have to try to make that decision on what I see every single day. And to be fair, Nico is really willing and really willing to help the team.

Bukayo Saka has been keeping Nicolas Pepe out of the Arsenal team


Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

“The reality is that the position he is playing, Bukayo has been playing regularly there and he’s been fantastic. So it’s not been easy for him to find that time.”

Arsenal host Leeds the Emirates Stadium on Saturday as they look to hold onto their fourth place in the Premier League.

They then face Sunderland in the Carabao Cup before a trip to Norwich on Boxing Day and a home game against Wolves before New Year.

Read More

Read More


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here