This trait comes in the form of a double-edged sword. On the one hand he’s one of the more predictable members of this squad, yet equally he has more goal contributions than anyone at the club this season (four goals, three assists) – the caveat being he’s been mostly involved in the Europa League.
With stagnant movement in the final third and too much reliance on wide areas to carve out openings, there aren’t even flashes of talent littered around in matches from individuals. If there are, it’s down to Bukayo Saka bursting through lines.
Pepe’s display against Dundalk left plenty to be desired, admittedly. We’ve called for consistency in his games and got two on the trot. That said, even in Ireland there were smatterings of quality dotted about that brought with them opportunities, the like that have been abandoning the Emirates all season.
Whether he makes one or two chances, has one or two pops at goal, it’s more of an attacking threat down the right flank than we’ve seen from Willian. The Brazilian has had one shot on target in the Premier League. It came eight minutes into his debut.
Head scratching and moments of irritation will follow against the Saints in Pepe’s performance. There is every chance he’ll fluff his lines once or twice. But at least there will be reason to be annoyed. With Willian, the frustration comes from him not offering anything. Pepe is at least more likely to be in with a sniff of goal or playing a teammate in.
Ask the Southampton defenders who’d they’d rather come up against on that right hand side and it’s Pepe over Willian. Reiss Nelson is a topic for elsewhere.