Date: 9th December 2020 at 9:00am
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Freddie Ljungberg has launched a defence of under-fire Arsenal man Nicolas Pepe following his appearance on Sky Sports.

The Ivorian is currently two games into his three-game ban for his red card away to Leeds United back in November.

During his appearance on Sky’s coverage of Brighton versus Southampton, the Swede claimed the Ivory Coast international scores goals regularly during training as he watched back a clip of his strike versus West Ham from last season.

Ljungberg said: “Whatever people say about Nico, there he’s fantastic. His left foot from that angle is unreal. He scores so many goals in training. (via Sky Sports)

How many goals and assists will Pepe finish the season with?

10-15

10-15

16-20

16-20

21-25

21-25

Having never entered the realm of professional football, I wouldn’t be able to tell you the difference between training and a competitive match. However, analysing Ljungberg’s comments, it seems silly to point out how many goals a winger scores during sessions outside of matchdays.

The problem with the African was never over his training, rather how inconsistent he is proving across all competitions. 10 out of 10 performances were coming in drips and drabs last season with the £72m ace rarely hitting the heights which saw the Gunners splash out such a vast amount of money.

And it’s continued into this campaign with Pepe currently flying in the Europa League, whilst performing disappointingly in the Premier League. He’s fallen behind the likes of Willian in the pecking order, who has started 10 of the opening 11 league games.

Let’s be honest, anyone can perform in a training session where players are told to calm their tackling down. However, doing it on a pitch during competitive encounters is a whole different ball game. It seems Pepe isn’t rising to the challenge on the field, however, there’s no question he possesses the talent to turn his career in N5 around.