In typical responsible media fashion, Arsenal newbie Nicolas Pep was deemed a flop after about three months. Anyone still think he is?
No one should have been surprised when, after three months of struggling to acclimate at Arsenal, Nicolas Pepe was deemed a flop by the all-knowing, always responsible English media. At the time, he was guilty of heavy touches, a lack of finishing ability, and his first goal came from a penalty.
He didn’t score his first Premier League goal until December 9th against West Ham. Even still, at that moment he had three goals and four assists in all competitions. Even if they weren’t bedazzling.
Nowadays, Pepe is our second most effective threat on goal. He’s got five goals and five assists in all competitions and some of these have been pretty sparkly, particular his curlers and his free kick excellence.
Yet I don’t hear anyone in the English media coming out an saying that, well, maybe Nicolas Pepe isn’t a flop. They’ve just gone quiet. Because negative media attention always gets more eyes than positive.
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But rest assured, Pepe is absolutely, positively not a flop. Recently he’s been one our only sources of attacking inspiration, you can see him growing more and more into his confidence and his own natural ability and the most telling of all is that he’s no longer one of the first to be subbed off for younger players.
Mikel Arteta is seeing the changes he wants to see in the oft-prolific Ivorian defender and it’s plain to see why.
Nicolas Pepe is getting better and better and that’s all that we can ask of him. As long as he’s improving, we will keep inching closer towards getting the best out of him. The fact that he’s responsible for ten goal contributions in his first year of being a flop is impressive enough, but the numbers don’t matter as much as the progress we’re seeing. His production is increasing as the season goes on, so don’t be surprised to see a decent goal tally in his first complete year at a brand new club.
Which is all you can really ask for from a guy coming over from Ligue 1, a league known for not providing the greatest transition rates.
Nicolas Pepe is going to be a star here. He almost is, in all honesty. And the quiet around his performances is testament to that.