Nicolas Pepe shone for Arsenal during their Europa League victory on Thursday evening.
It was a big night for the Gunners’ record-signing having attracted negative headlines at the weekend for a reckless red card during the 0-0 draw with Leeds United in the Premier League.
Pepe blew a massive hole in Arsenal‘s hopes of leaving Elland Road with three points after headbutting Ezgjan Alioski in an off-the-ball incident picked up by VAR.
Pepe out for redemption
The Ivorian issued the following apology on his Instagram account: “I let my team down at a crucial time of the game and there are no excuses for my behaviour.”
“I am deeply sorry and would like to apologise to the fans, my teammates, my coach and everyone else at the club.”
But they say actions speak louder than words and Pepe repaid Arsenal fans with a superb display during his next appearance as Mikel Arteta’s men qualified for the Europa League round of 32.
Molde 0-3 Arsenal
For all the club’s woes in the Premier League this season, they’ve hardly put a foot wrong in Europe’s secondary competition and that remained the case during the trip to Molde.
The Norwegian club, famously the home of Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, was roundly beaten 3-0 on their own turf with Pepe proving the star performer for the visitors.
Goals from Reiss Nelson and Folarin Balogun secured the three points later in the game, but it was a moment of magic from Pepe that broke the deadlock in Scandanavia.
Pepe’s highlights vs Molde
Say what you like about Pepe, who is valued at £36 million by Transfermarkt, but there’s no denying he has quality to spare in his left foot and that couldn’t have been clearer than when he whipped a glorious strike into the top corner.
Combine that with creating a series of chances for his teammates with whirling crosses as well as almost scoring Arsenal’s finest goal of 2020 and it’s fair to say Pepe was pretty fantastic.
Therefore, do yourselves a favour and watch Pepe’s full individual highlights from the Molde victory, courtesy of Twitter user @RSComps7, down below:
Fair play, Nicolas
Yes, yes, we hear the cynics moaning that it’s only a Europa League game, but you can only beat what’s in front of you and Pepe ensured he left everything on the pitch this week.
It’s a credit to the former Lille forward’s attitude that he didn’t allow the Leeds drama to play on his mind and instead focused his energy into ensuring he bounced back stronger this time.
There’s a long way to go for Pepe to fully redeem himself, don’t get us wrong, but those glorious 58 seconds of him dazzling Molde will show Arsenal fans that he’s well on the way to doing so.