Arsenal forward Nicolas Pepe has revealed the presence of crowds in the stadium helps him perform better in the games. Having arrived on a club record fee of £72m in 2019, the Ivory Coast international has been mostly inconsistent and only shown patches of brilliance at times.
Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal are under intense scrutiny after losing their first three league games, as they are rock bottom in the table. Pepe hopes the presence of crowds in the stadium will help him and his team find their form back as they try to put behind a disappointing finish in the last season. Speaking to Arsenal’s official website Pepe said “The pressure of having a crowd makes you play better, for me anyway. You concentrate more and then you play with a higher quality.”
“The Stade Velodrome in Marseille. We won the game 2-1 and I scored our first goal from a penalty just before half-time. That was the first time I had a laser shone directly in my face, as I was taking the penalty, which wasn’t great! Then the moment I scored they threw bottles and there was beer landing on us and stuff like that. I just thought it was funny, but you really see how huge the atmosphere is down there.”
“When you’re a Marseille fan or if you play for the club, you soon see how important winning becomes. It’s unusual to see that level of feeling because you don’t often get an atmosphere like that in France or even many places in Europe.”
“I would say it’s my favourite-ever stadium to play in, because of that atmosphere. The reaction that day was just because I had scored against them. It wasn’t hostile. In fact I wouldn’t say I’ve ever known a hostile reception especially, I can’t really think of one.”
“Maybe at Lille, when I was playing for them, if we weren’t winning the supporters were really aggressive towards us. When we weren’t getting results it was tough, but we just kept going and eventually it improved.”
“Actually there was this one game with an unbelievable atmosphere at Lille – as well as the one at the Velodrome. I’d forgotten about it but it’s just come to me. It was Lille against PSG at home and we won it 5-1, that same season.”
“I scored in that game (as did current team- mate Gabriel) and that was also one of the best atmospheres I’ve seen. Our stadium was at full capacity, it was a great game and a great atmosphere – the biggest I’ve played in.“