NICOLAS PEPE HAS FINALLY SCORED A GOAL FROM OPEN PLAY FOR ARSENAL.
It’s been a long time coming but the £72 million summer signing found the back of the net in style against West Ham on Monday night, helping his side to a 3-1 victory.
That brilliant goal to put his side 2-1 up wasn’t his only contribution of the night as, minutes later, he set up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
That’s more like it.
We’ve been expecting to see Pepe take the Premier League by storm following his big-money move from Lille in the summer. After all, the Ivorian notched 22 goals in Ligue 1 this season.
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But it hasn’t quite worked out like that for the 24-year-old, who has struggled to put consistent performances together.
Was Monday night the start of his Arsenal career?
Gooners will certainly hope so and they can be encouraged from Pepe’s individual highlights package that has emerged following their win.
The two-minute video shows a confident Pepe running past defenders using his searing pace. He gave Arthur Masuaku an absolute runaround in the second-half.
After the match, caretaker manager Freddie Ljungberg was delighted for his player.
"People always ask me about Pepe, and he needs to adapt and that's not so easy, especially with his price," the Swede said.
"But he showed his quality tonight and he can sleep happy. He will get better and better.
"I hope the win changes the mood. They look happy. But we are demanded to win football matches and I can sense the pressure that we have been under.
"That lifted a bit today. You always hope one win can transform a season - but we can't get carried away."
GiveMeSport’s Rob Hoskin says:
Welcome to the Premier League, Nicolas Pepe.
It’s been a tough few months for the winger as he’s struggled to adapt to Premier League football. We’ve seen glimpses but you do expect more from a £72m signing.
But the price-tag isn’t his fault and football fans are all too quick to write off players. At the same time, those same fans are probably getting far too carried away with Pepe’s display against West Ham.
This is a poor Hammers side and Masuaku didn’t look like a footballer when he came on last night. Before that, Pepe wasn't exactly standing out and it wasn't a complete performance.
I don’t think Pepe will suddenly become a world-beater after this performance especially with the hectic Christmas schedule coming up - something that he won’t be used to and may struggle to play matches every couple of days.
It often takes time for players to get used to Premier League football - especially coming from France.
As silly as it sounds considering his price-tag, any decent performances Pepe produces this season is simply a bonus as he adapts to life in England on and off the pitch.
It’s next season where we should really be judging him.News Now - Sport News