ESPN pundit Stewart Robson has stressed that Nicolas Pepe can’t be considered as an Arsenal flop judging by his performances during his debut campaign. The Ivory Coast international joined the Gunners in a club-record deal from Lille last summer and he has since contributed four goals and six assists from 24 league outings.
Speaking on the ESPN FC show, Robson said that it is too early to call Pepe a flop. He added that the 24-year-old has yet to find his best position and should improve his performances under the guidance of Mikel Arteta, he told: “Slightly too early [to call him a flop]. He hasn’t been a great success this season so far. He’s had one or two good games, couple of good free-kicks. I’m not sure they’ve found the right position for him.
“They’ve tried him on the right wing where he spent most of his time in France. Then they tried to play him upfront for a couple of games. Yet he’s got pace, he can do lots of things. At the moment they haven’t got the best out of him, he doesn’t look a confident player. So he’s a flop at the moment but I think he can get better next year under [Mikel] Arteta.”
The north London outfit have endured a disappointing campaign in the Premier League and they are currently ninth on the table with 40 points on the board. Still, they are only five points behind a Champions League spot with a game in hand and they could yet qualify for the elite competition, should they go on a long-winning run when the season recommences after the coronavirus shutdown.
The Gunners picked up form before the campaign was suspended with three league wins on the bounce. However, their prospects of making the Champions League places remains a tough ask with games against Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur left to play.