Nicolas Pepe could feature for Arsenal against Southampton after serving his three-game suspension.
A treacherous set of fixtures have passed since Nicolas Pepe‘s brain imploded against Leeds, with that night in Yorkshire now a distant memory. Fans have moved on. Arsenal have moved on.
Three Premier League matches have since passed without a point and just one goal to boot, the latter of those stats being where the Ivorian could have a telling say.
Two of the three Europa League outings he’s embarked on since have treated supporters to the closest resemblance of who everyone hoped he could be, but they count for nothing. Dead-rubbers against some of the few sides around less talented than Arsenal can change opinion only so much.
This is where it matters.
Brought in as an immediate talent, who still had scope to improve and become one of the best in the division further down the line, the game-changing nature of Pepe’s talent was front and centre of his acquisition.
Someone capable of plucking a chance out of thin air, fighting his way out of tight corners and providing a genuine goal threat. There hasn’t been close to enough of that regularly since joining Arsenal.
Southampton visit the Emirates on Wednesday in magnificent form, playing a high-pressing, relentless brand of football topped by one of the most exciting strike partnerships in Europe. The final point is not an exaggeration, they link superbly and perfectly complement one another.
Their threats are clear. Arsenal’s less so. However, the return of Pepe to the starting lineup could offer Mikel Arteta exactly what his side have been missing.