Mikel Arteta issues Nicolas Pepe with a warning that he must improve his consistency and that he CANNOT use the excuse of adapting to the Premier League anymore after a recent surge in form for the Gunners
- Nicolas Pepe scored in both of Arsenal’s Europa League ties with Slavia Prague
- The Ivorian has a double digit season goal tally for the first time at Arsenal
- The 25-year-old’s has struggled with consistency and needed time to settle in
- Arteta has told Pepe he cannot use this as an excuse anymore now his form is up
Mikel Arteta has warned Nicolas Pepe he has no more excuses now to justify his £72million price tag after an upturn in form for the Ivorian winger.
The 25-year-old has enjoyed a good few weeks in north London, scoring in both of Arsenal’s Europa League quarter-final legs over Slavia Prague and has started in eight out of the Gunners’ last 12 league matches since the end of January.
Arteta admitted that Pepe has needed time to adjust to life at Arsenal but the Gunners boss admitted that the winger’s recent form means he must now show the consistency required to stay as a regular star.
Mikel Arteta (right) has told Nicolas Pepe (left) he now needs to show consistency at Arsenal
Pepe scored in both of Arsenal’s Europa League quarter-final legs against Slavia Prague
The Arsenal manager said before Sunday’s visit of Fulham: ‘Nico has this ability – it depends on him, we can help him as much as we want but he needs to have the right mindset and consistency to do what he can do.
‘Because that is the level that we are going to ask of him, the level I am asking of him – if it is something below that he is not going to play but if he does what he can do he will have a big chance to play because he has got incredible ability.
‘He just needed to change his mindset. He needed a period of adaptation and that is gone now. So we cannot rely on adaptation again, now it is about performance and he can do it.
‘He has got the players to support him, a manager that trusts him, he has got all the staff that are willing to help him and all the team-mates who really like him because he is a really likeable character so there are no excuses.’
Pepe (right) has ten goals this season for Arsenal – two years after his £72m move from Lille
Pepe’s most recent Arsenal goal – a cool dink to open the scoring at Slavia Prague in the Gunners’ 4-0 victory that earned them a Europa League semi-finals – was his tenth of the season.
The Ivorian only managed eight in debut season in north London but did manage to pick up double digits in assists in all competitions.
Despite starting most of his matches during his first season on the right-hand side of the attack, Pepe has been used on the left occasionally by Arteta this season ahead of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Gabriel Martinelli.
His two goals against Slavia Prague mean Arsenal are three Europa League victories away from qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
The Gunners are currently ninth in the Premier League table but can move seven points behind West Ham in fourth if they beat Fulham on Sunday.