Kevin Campbell believes Nicolas Pepe is regressing at Arsenal after being benched by Mikel Arteta for a second game running.
Nicolas Pepe’s career at Arsenal is an enigma. While his numbers are relatively average, he still poses a considerable threat for defenders. 15 goals in 65 Premier League appearances is not exactly a prolific tally, but the wide forward has become an integral part of Arteta’s attack.
The major sticking point has been the £72 million transfer fee Arsenal paid Lille for the Ivorian. He was signed after an impressive, goal-laden season with French side Lille but failed to replicate his form at the Emirates. Despite his patchy form, Arteta has kept faith in him and afforded plenty of chances.
Arteta even relied upon him earlier but has benched him for the last two Premier League games against Tottenham and Brighton. The manager has always been vocal about the player and what he demands from him.
The forward is yet to open his account in the Premier League this season, although he does have a goal to his name in the Carabao Cup. Nonetheless, this could be the make-or-break year for the Ivorian winger amid a strong feeling that he is regressing at the club rather than moving forward.
Former Gunners striker Kevin Campbell has reiterated the above feeling suggesting, Pepe is taking steps backwards under Arteta. Speaking on The Highbury Squad podcast, Campbell sounded worried for the Ivorian and his future at Arsenal. HITC posted the former striker’s comments on the wide forward and his stuttering future.
Campbell said, “When the manager works with you, and you make that jump, he’s not expecting you to take steps backwards. He’s expecting you to take steps forward this season, and it doesn’t look like he’s taking steps forward. It looks like he’s regressing a little bit.
Despite Arsenal’s non-participation in European competitions, the season is long, and Pepe will have plenty of opportunities to get into his stride. For now, it seems that Bukayo Saka has usurped his position on the right, but Pepe has the character to win his place back under Mikel Arteta.