Nicolas Pepe scored his first Arsenal goal from open play with curler vs West Ham

West Ham United v Arsenal FC - Premier League

Nicolas Pepe has finally scored from open play for Arsenal.

After almost completing 2019 without having scored from anything but a set-piece at his new club, Pepe's drought came to a close against West Ham United on Monday night.

It came at a crucial time, too. Angelo Ogbonna had given the Hammers a first-half lead, only for youngster Gabriel Martinelli to hit back with his first ever Premier League goal.

And it got even better for the Gunners just a few moments later when Pepe collected the ball form Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the penalty area.

Cutting in on his favoured left foot, the Ivorian found the back of the net in stunning fashion, curling a strike past David Martin and into the top corner.

Pepe's first goal from open play

Prior to that strike, Pepe had only scored from a penalty against Aston Villa and with two quick-fire free-kicks in a Europa League win over Vitoria.

As a result, the Ivorian had been widely criticised for not living up to his club-record fee, while others pointed at the alarming percentage of penalty goals during his final year at Lille.

But his first goal from open play was certainly worth the wait, so check it out down below:

Massive result for Arsenal

And it clearly proved inspiration for his fellow strikers as Aubameyang made it 3-1 just a few moments later, seemingly turning things around for Arsenal after such a shaky start.

The Gunners have been in desperate need of a victory after a torrid run of form that saw Unai Emery sacked and Freddie Ljungberg given a harsh welcome to management.

Admittedly, West Ham were a team ready for the taking and their win away at Chelsea stands anomalously in a streak of draws and losses.

FBL-ENG-PR-WEST HAM-ARSENAL

But Arsenal fans won't care one bit, especially when defeat at the London Stadium would have pinned them down to within four points of the relegation zone. Seriously.

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