Unai Emery replies when asked if Nicolas Pepe will start for Arsenal v Burnley
Arsenal manager Unai Emery replies when asked if Nicolas Pepe will make his full debut against Burnley on Saturday
Unai Emery says he hasn’t made a decision about whether Arsenal’s record signing Nicolas Pepe will start against Burnley at The Emirates on Saturday afternoon.
The Ivory Coast international was a second-half substitute in Arsenal’s 1-0 victory over Newcastle United at St James’ Park last weekend to get his first taste of Premier League football.
Pepe moved to Arsenal in a club record £72m deal from Ligue 1 side Lille following months of speculation linking the Ivorian with a move to the English top fight.
The 22-year-old scored 22 times and made 11 assists in his final season in Ligue 1 for Lille, which has understandably built excitement around his potential impact at Arsenal.
Speaking at his pre-match media conference about whether Pepe will start his first Premier League game in his first potential outing at The Emirates on Saturday lunchtime, Emery said:
“I am going to decide on Friday because now is a small difference for my decision about the player. It depends how they will be [on Friday] in the training.
“But Pepe is training with us, is improving with us, is knowing us, our idea, our style, is able to understand his team-mates better.
“Physically also, getting better. He’s more close to helping us than he was at the beginning, after giving us an impact during the match.”
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored Arsenal’s second-half winner in a 1-0 victory over Newcastle United in the Premier League at St James’ Park last weekend.
Arsenal are looking to secure a return to the Champions League this term by finishing in the Premier League’s top four following a three-season absence.
The north London side haven’t won the Premier League title since 2003-04, when the Gunners managed to complete the entire season of fixtures without defeat.