Nicolas Pepe: The Nutmeg Express!

What would you do with Pepe?

  • Keep him for the foreseeable future

  • Give him one more season to prove himself

  • Sell if you can get a significant fee, keep otherwise

  • Sell at any price


Results are only viewable after voting.

AbouCuéllar

Wishes to get banned elsewhere

Interesting, would be interested to see what that looks like for this season. Likely much worse as his counting # statistics aren't very good (0.3 key passes and 75.8% PS% compared to 1.3 and 81.4% last season-- it's true he had a good run of form under Arteta later in the season last, but tbh, still had never seen that composure and short link up in the final third that I saw yesterday; Saka is at 1.2 KP and 80.7 PS% btw--both of their numbers are certainly hurt by the fact that about 18 of the 26 games played in EPL were under a totally sterile and unthreatening offensive set-up). It's not surprising, considering team effects, that Pepe's were far better last season, when half was played under incredibly leaky and dominated defensively but still better than Arteta offensively Em*ry and Ljungberg, and then later a counter-attacking system in the second half that rather suits Pepe's style, much less so than a possession style that has to face lower blocks and unlock defenses in short spaces, which is where we're seeing the biggest evolution in Pepe's play).
 

The_Playmaker

Established Member
Trusted
Interesting, would be interested to see what that looks like for this season. Likely much worse as his counting # statistics aren't very good (0.3 key passes and 75.8% PS% compared to 1.3 and 81.4% last season-- it's true he had a good run of form under Arteta later in the season last, but tbh, still had never seen that composure and short link up in the final third that I saw yesterday; Saka is at 1.2 KP and 80.7 PS% btw--both of their numbers are certainly hurt by the fact that about 18 of the 26 games played in EPL were under a totally sterile and unthreatening offensive set-up). It's not surprising, considering team effects, that Pepe's were far better last season, when half was played under incredibly leaky and dominated defensively but still better than Arteta offensively Em*ry and Ljungberg, and then later a counter-attacking system in the second half that rather suits Pepe's style, much less so than a possession style that has to face lower blocks and unlock defenses in short spaces, which is where we're seeing the biggest evolution in Pepe's play).

Statistics don't give the full picture. For example, my main gripe with Arteta regarding Pepe is that he has been stuck on the touchline with Bellerin under lapping. In order to score he has to beat 3 players to get to the box. He isn't isolated 1v1. He should be getting more tap ins. Or ag least shots inside the box.

He has been consistent in that, if he is close to the box he is dangerous. If he is 1v1 he is dangerous. I dont think its rocket science. He isn't a complicated player. Arteta isn't responsible for Pepe combining. Pepe sees a pass. In the fa cup final he was doing drag back nut megs to put players into goal scoring positions.

Arteta is at fault for not putting Pepe in a position where he can combine.
 

SingmeasongSong

Right Sometimes
I've personally seen enough of Pepe to say that he is theoretically worth every million of his fee.

He's not been used to actually perform to that price tag though, and he's proven to himself need a bit more time than we originally hoped for.

But if he isn't dropped constantly when he actually performs better than anyone else, he could easily be a top 4-5 winger in the league,
he 's got all the tools and he also seems to have switched on, mentality wise.

He's aggressive, he's very good defensively, he tries over and over again..

Think he's one of the best in the league when he's close to goal and just needs to beat 1 guy, just dangerous. Needs to get there more often still.
 

Pyres7

Well-Known Member
He still has the earn his way ahead of Saka unless Mikel sees him as an option on the right. You don't just drop Saka or play him elsewhere because Pepe had a good game. I think Saka is still somewhat versatile so in the future perhaps he could play left or more centrally to accommodate Pepe. But at the moment I don't think this means Pepe is now first choice RW, far from it.

Luckily for Pepe, with us still being in the EL and games coming thick and fast we'll be rotating our options in attack quite a bit so he'll not be short of game time, it's up to him to have a positive impact when he's playing.
Some of Pepe's best form this season has been on the left so I don't think it matters who's RW. Saka is good on the left too, I would play them both and give them the freedom so switch wings every now and then.
 

AbouCuéllar

Wishes to get banned elsewhere
Statistics don't give the full picture. For example, my main gripe with Arteta regarding Pepe is that he has been stuck on the touchline with Bellerin under lapping. In order to score he has to beat 3 players to get to the box. He isn't isolated 1v1. He should be getting more tap ins. Or ag least shots inside the box.

I mean that was an issue not just for Pepe but whoever was playing on the right until we finally got a capable player in the 10 space who could combine and help to isolate wide players a bit more.

He has been consistent in that, if he is close to the box he is dangerous. If he is 1v1 he is dangerous. I dont think its rocket science. He isn't a complicated player. Arteta isn't responsible for Pepe combining. Pepe sees a pass. In the fa cup final he was doing drag back nut megs to put players into goal scoring positions.

I dunno, 'Pepe sees a pass' or Pepe being good at combination play is just totally the opposite of what my eyes tell me. It's one of the clearest weaknesses in his game, for me. I can't be mad here-- would be interesting if others, other than Pepe fanboys like Macho would chime in here, because surely I'm not the only one who recognises this as a major weakness in his game.

Leeds are so bad defensively so it’s hard to look into that game alone. That same attacking midfield trio lacked shots in the Benfica matches. I think long term there is not enough shots in ESR-Ødegaard-Saka. It does make sense in some ways with Auba at CF, but the highest upside attack IMO is with a Pepe that is releasing the ball at the right times like yesterday, with one of Ødegaard/ESR missing.

I'll quote you here and take advantage to respond as well because I know you understand a thing or two and can help with me wondering if I'm having some kind of strange delusion about combination play / vision of play / and passing not being one of Pepe's strengths:

Definitely think this is a fair point--and yes, I know Leeds is a mess defensively and that has to be taken into account (though I think perhaps in the Benfica matches it's worth noting that the quality of our chances perhaps balanced out a bit with the lack of quantity in shots-- the chances we were creating, like the Auba sitter, or the one that was ruled out for offside, were of the highest quality--including the goals, which minus Tierney were all tap ins or mano a mano with keeper). You anticipate as well my thinking with this in that Auba is a poacher and that those three should be able to really maximise the qualities of a poacher-- not sure we've really seen them carburating or linking up to the effect they can (Bellerín on the right is also a huge problem, as we know, for the Saka-Ødegaard combinations from that side), especially in terms of ESR combining with those two.

Either way, we have finally two top 4 worthy attacking lines in ESR-Ødegaard-Saka and Pepe-Ødegaard-Saka, which is a beautiful change from the first half of the season...I still tend to think that the latter has a bit more potential, though (especially because if ESR showed a bit more personality and got a bit more involved I like the potential for exploiting Tierney's overlaps with him on the left).
 

El Duderino

99 Problems But A Mitch Ain't One
Trusted
No surprise his and Auba uptick in form comes as we put in a couple of more offensively minded/technically better players in the team, but we keep seeing the same people saying that both players shouldn't be playing for us, so go figure.
 

Camron

Established Member
Trusted
It shouldn't be an either or with Saka and Pepe. It should be about how we can get them both in at the same time.
Pepe, Saka, Martinelli, Willian, Auba, even Reiss.

Let's hope this competition for places turns into the same selection headache Pep faced at City with Bernardo Silva, Mahrez, Sane and Sterling where a sub or absence did not weaken the team.
 

Impact

Well-Known Member
A-M is usually full of reaches but the Bellerin thing is valid IMO.

It’s not purely down to Hector, Arteta seems to tell Bellerin to come inside more while Cedric seems to play more like a natural RB.

I actually don't think this is true. They play the same role but when we control the game, the RB has more opportunity to overlap or underlap.

It's about rotations. When we attack on both sides, we always have someone deep, wide and in the half space. On the left, it's usually Xhaka deep, Tierney wide and our LW in the half space but there is rotation as the game demands. On the right, it's Bellerin deep, Ødegaard (Smith Rowe) in the half space and Saka wide. Again there is rotation as the game demands.
 

AW49

Member
I mean that was an issue not just for Pepe but whoever was playing on the right until we finally got a capable player in the 10 space who could combine and help to isolate wide players a bit more.



I dunno, 'Pepe sees a pass' or Pepe being good at combination play is just totally the opposite of what my eyes tell me. It's one of the clearest weaknesses in his game, for me. I can't be mad here-- would be interesting if others, other than Pepe fanboys like Macho would chime in here, because surely I'm not the only one who recognises this as a major weakness in his game.



I'll quote you here and take advantage to respond as well because I know you understand a thing or two and can help with me wondering if I'm having some kind of strange delusion about combination play / vision of play / and passing not being one of Pepe's strengths:

Definitely think this is a fair point--and yes, I know Leeds is a mess defensively and that has to be taken into account (though I think perhaps in the Benfica matches it's worth noting that the quality of our chances perhaps balanced out a bit with the lack of quantity in shots-- the chances we were creating, like the Auba sitter, or the one that was ruled out for offside, were of the highest quality--including the goals, which minus Tierney were all tap ins or mano a mano with keeper). You anticipate as well my thinking with this in that Auba is a poacher and that those three should be able to really maximise the qualities of a poacher-- not sure we've really seen them carburating or linking up to the effect they can (Bellerín on the right is also a huge problem, as we know, for the Saka-Ødegaard combinations from that side), especially in terms of ESR combining with those two.

Either way, we have finally two top 4 worthy attacking lines in ESR-Ødegaard-Saka and Pepe-Ødegaard-Saka, which is a beautiful change from the first half of the season...I still tend to think that the latter has a bit more potential, though (especially because if ESR showed a bit more personality and got a bit more involved I like the potential for exploiting Tierney's overlaps with him on the left).

It’s not a strength I agree, but with Ødegaard (10) and Saka (RW) as the two other AM’s, I think we can afford a bit of leeway in the ball dominant/tight space department to get the Pepe upside in dribbling and goals/shots.

It’s more easier for Pepe to play in space on the left rather than the right too. Granted there will be less shooting opportunities this way but he can avoid the congestion and have the option of dribbling around the outside of defenders.
 

Blood on the Tracks

Well-Known Member

AW49

Member
The thing is though. Pepe's an end product player. Even when he's on top form he's going to give the ball away a lot or be dispossessed. That's just the nature of that sort of player, you can't hold it against him.

We don't want him playing percentage football, that's not his strength.

In general I agree and I said something not too dissimilar in the previous post. But this particular play was a glaring mistake IMO. Ødegaard is more central and if he got the ball at the right time (0:05) would only have Soyuncu to face with Laca trailing to help.
 

The_Playmaker

Established Member
Trusted

Seen Saka do the same thing on multiple occasions. Seen Mane and Salah do it to. And Gnabry and Sane and so many good wingers. 1v1, you take the man on and score. It's not like he was laying it on for a tap in. Ødegaard would have had to beat his man to score. It's not something he does regularly and knowing him, he probably would have tried to pass it back to Pepe anyway.
 

AbouCuéllar

Wishes to get banned elsewhere
In general I agree and I said something not too dissimilar in the previous post. But this particular play was a glaring mistake IMO.

Tbf I dunno if I'd say glaring mistake (the mistake is the poor and easily defended dribble) because he's 1v1 and it's okay for him to have a go (even though you're right, if he releases Ødegaard at the right moment it's really the best option, Ødegaard can then cut in and shoot or receive and play Pepe through if he makes the right run), but it does effectively remind us that good passing and vision of play is not something that characterises Pepe's game.
 
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freeglennhelder2

Well-Known Member
He's aggressive, he's very good defensively, he tries over and over again..

He displayed all those qualities in spades on Sunday but absolutely has not displayed the attributes consistently so far in his Arsenal career. He’d be a nailed on starter if he had.

At one point on Sunday he rushed back to tackle as if his life depended on it. I had to double take to see if it was the same player.

Lets hope this is the beginning of something beautiful.
 
Arteta is a clown for randomly dropping him when he was on that decent run of form. It almost feels like it's personal the way he's violated him at times.
He needs to show more faith in him instead of playing ESR week in, week out.
 

MikelHadADream

Well-Known Member
Loved his performance yesterday, his best in an Arsenal shirt. But there is a massive elephant in the room, the best young player and let's face it, face of the club at the minute is best on the right, Pepe's position.

This reminds of of the Auba/Laca situation of the last few years. Two players of high value that play in the same position, resulting in one being shoe horned out of position. Its not an ideal scenario for a club like Arsenal.
 

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