‘I’m really happy’: Mikel Arteta praises Arsenal star Nicolas Pepe
Mikel Arteta rates Nicolas Pepe's performance after Arsenal's 2-1 win over Sheffield United on Sunday
Mikel Arteta believes that Nicolas Pepe has taken “another step forward” with his impressive performance in Arsenal’s 2-1 win over Sheffield United in the Premier League on Sunday.
The 25-year-old Ivory Coast international is yet to make his first Premier League start of the season under Arteta but he came off the bench to score Arsenal’s second goal for the Gunners at The Emirates against the Blades.
Pepe netted his first goal of the season with a cool finish in off the left-hand post after Bukayo Saka had headed the home side into the lead moments earlier.
The attacker has been made to wait for his chances in the Arsenal team this season, with Pepe having been used as a substitute in all four of the Gunners’ matches in the top flight so far.
Arteta was asked about Pepe’s display after he came on to play the final 32 minutes of Sunday’s game, and the Gunners boss expressed his delight at the way the Ivorian has been performing lately.
“I am really happy,” Arteta said of Pepe’s performance. “First of all for him and also for the contribution he made to the team.
“When this type of player is not playing, obviously they are not happy but I demanded them on matchday to be completely focused and determined to make the impact when they have the chance to play, and that is exactly what he has done.
“I think it is another step forward for him, he is capable of doing that but he needs to do it with consistency.
“This is the demand we are going to put on him but I am delighted that he has done it and he helped the team a lot today to get the points.”
Pepe will be hoping to notch up his first Premier League start of the season when Arsenal return to Premier League action after the international break with a crunch clash away to Manchester City.
The north London side are currently fourth in the Premier League table and three points behind leaders Everton as things stand.