Arsenal return to Premier League action on Saturday when they face Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
One player who will be looking to earn a start for the Gunners is Nicolas Pepe, after coming off the bench to score the decisive goal in the 2-1 win over Sheffield United before the international break.
After arriving from Lille for a club record £72million last summer, Pepe endured a mixed debut season in the Premier League.
Under former manager Unai Emery, the Ivorian winger showed glimpses of his exciting talent, but was often dropped towards the end of the Spaniard’s tenure due to his inconsistencies.
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Since Mikel Arteta has taken over at the Emirates Stadium, Pepe’s performances have again fluctuated, but the Ivorian has proven that he can be a match winner for the club – as the Sheffield United victory showed.
Former Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez previously warned Pepe that he had to maintain the level of his displays for Arsenal.
“Pepe will have confidence for two or three games but he has to keep doing it now otherwise he will lose it again,” Benitez said on Sky Monday Night football, after Pepe netted in Arsenal’s 3-1 win over West Ham last season.
Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho has also spoken about Pepe’s talent, and admitted the winger could prove to be a key addition given the right conditions.
“I know Pepe very well. There’s a question mark over the time for his adaption but he’s obviously a kid with a lot of talent,” Mourinho said at the beginning of last season.
“This is potentially a very good signing for Arsenal.”
Pepe will want to prove to both managers that his adaptation period is over, and that he can put together a run of consistent form – starting with Arsenal’s clash against Manchester City.
The winger has serious competition for…