I don't get at all this narrative that Arteta is somehow not 'nice' or 'doesn't like' Pepe or is somehow punitive or something with him.
He was dropped for Leeds, a game where Arteta chose what I (and I'm sure not just I) think is our highest potential XI (ESR-Ødegaard-Saka), in which we produced perhaps our best performance of the season. Arteta then picked the same team for a big game against Benfica in Europe. He then chose Pepe against Manchester City...
I don't really get this narrative at all. People also act like he was on some kind of Gareth Bale 2012-13 run of form. He had a good game against Southampton, not so good against United, good against Wolves, not so good against Villa, and was dropped for those two matches in favour of really interesting options (ESR, Ødegaard, Saka) after that. He scored 2 goals in those 4 games.
Yeah @Finesse going off of what I said after the game, you can really notice a positive influence of Arteta's coaching on Pepe. Think there's a strong case he's been one of the players who's most benefited from his coaching.
I am not a fan of Arteta the manager. I am a fan of Arteta the coach. Pepe coming into the team and performing is on Pepe. It shows mental strength and resilience. Very different from headbutting someone after getting kicked against Leeds. The way he plays is down to the coaching. He spends less time on the ball and he is more direct.
However, when it comes down to it. He needs to be starting in our most important games. He is a better player than both Willian and ESR when playing on the left. Even with inconsistency he has been far more consistent than Willian. Willian has had two good games this season. Two. Credit should be in the bank with Pepe. He should be ahead of him in the pecking order.
I cant believe people are willing to just sign off 72 million as a loss. Top of the list should be getting that 72 million pound player performing in a consistent manner.
He is not Morata ffs. There is something definitely there with Pepe.