Nicolas Pepe bounced back from his disappointment last Sunday with a man of the match performance against Molde.
The Ivorian was in sensational form against the Norwegian side as the Gunners cruised into the last-32 of the Europa League with a 3-0 win.
Pepe proved to be his usual technical self causing mayhem down the right-hand side for Mikel Arteta’s men. No Arsenal player completed more dribbles than the Ivory Coast international (8). He also proved to be incredibly useful with the ball, playing four key passes as he cut through the Norwegian side’s defence.
There was one moment in the first-half which typified how motivated Pepe was for the game. With a Molde player attempting to dribble into the box, the 6’0 man tracked back to rob the player of the ball and set up a counter-attack for the Reds.
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It seems the red card and dressing down from Arteta and various pundits gave Pepe the hunger to prove his doubters wrong last night. He was lavished with praise by the former Manchester City coach, who claimed that the Premier League absentee stood out last night.
The next step for the player is to now perform on a consistent basis. Pepe has been here and there in terms of form since he moved from Lille last summer, however, there has always been that glimpse of his quality. He showed that when he played against Virgil van Dijk in Arsenal’s trip to Anfield, dribbling past the Dutchman as he tore the Liverpool defence to shreds with his pace in the first-half before disappearing in the second.
With his confidence sky-high, it’s a real shame that Pepe will miss the next three league games due to his actions last weekend. However, with the fire back in his belly, there’s no excuse for any further recriminations in the future.