Nicolas Pepe joined Arsenal last summer in a record £72m move from Lille during Unai Emery’s reign. Much was expected from the Ivory Coast winger who scored 35 goals in 74 appearances for Lille. Pepe has started only one Premier League game this season, against Manchester City, as most of his appearances have been in cup competitions. Although Pepe has shown some glimpses of his talent in Europa League and cup competitions, he has not been able to deliver it on a consistent basis.
Mikel Arteta has repeatedly asked Pepe to perform consistently in order to start games for Arsenal. However, Pepe claims he is finding it difficult to find his rhythm and focus due to the lack of game time under Arteta. Speaking to French outlet Canal Plus the Ivory Coast international said “My goal is to play more. Have a little more playing time. A player who plays is happy. For me, I would like to play a little more to find a smile again. He wants me to be 100 per cent focused during the 90 minutes of the match. Afterwards, I see during training that I will be a substitute the following weekend. But the coach speaks to me, he also has assistants who are there for that. But it is frustrating for any player to be on the bench. The coach makes his choices. It’s up to me to show him that I don’t have that role.“