Sports

Arteta makes Pepe declaration as Arsenal team hint dropped in training

Mikel Arteta insists he is expecting Nicolas Pepe to go to the “next level” as the Ivorian continues to impress.

Arsenal’s record signing has failed to deliver thus far, but has shown glimpses of his quality.

Pepe has played the last five games in all competitions as the Gunners boss looks to get the best out of him.

This weekend the north Londoners host Leeds with Pepe enduring a forgettable afternoon in the reverse fixture as he was sent-off.

Arteta though has seen a shift in the 25-year-old and expects him to begin fulfilling his potential.

He said: “There is a click for him in his mentality, how he is approaching every training session, importance of every action in the game.

Nicolas Pepe has enjoyed regular minutes

“I really like his attitude. What he’s done in recent weeks has been much better.

“He still has a lot of room to improve and he’s willing to do that so I’m expecting him to go to the next level very soon.”

Arteta is still without leading lights Thomas Partey and Kieran Tierney due to injury.

It could mean a reshuffle with Bukayo Saka dropping into a wing-back position which would open up a role in attack alongside the impressive Emile Smith Rowe.

That would put both Martin Odegaard and Dani Ceballos in contention for Sunday’s game at the Emirates.

The former is still looking for his first start since making his loan move from Real Madrid.

Dani Ceballos is eyeing a return
Dani Ceballos is eyeing a return

Ceballos meanwhile has only been involved in one matchday squad since the New Year as he recovers from injury.

But one of the two Madrid loanees could be called upon to offer the Gunners a fresh injection.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who returned off the bench last weekend having been allowed time away, is poised to return.

Arteta also has a decision to make regarding his goalkeeper having praised Mat Ryan’s debut performance.

The Australian was beaten early on at Aston Villa but his manager was pleased with his response.

Bukayo Saka could face a role change
Bukayo Saka could face a role change

Bernd Leno is again available having served his suspension and Arteta eluded to his return as he challenged Ryan to continue pushing the German.

He said: “Well, I think Mat played a really good game. For the first game he played with us after little training I think he was really good.

“I really like the way he reacted because to concede a goal on your debut so early and still react the way he did it shows a lot of character from him.

“So that’s why we brought him here because he has to be an option, and he has to keep pushing Bernd.”




Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button