Mikel Arteta said he knew Nicolas Pepe was going to have a good game for Arsenal based on his body language alone.
It’s been a tough week for the Gunners forward, who was sent off against Leeds on the weekend, much to the frustration of his boss.
The suggestion emerged that Arteta was growing tired with trying to find a place for Pepe in his Arsenal team, and that this Thursday was the last chance saloon.
“Unacceptable,” said Arteta, speaking about Pepe’s red card on the weekend.
“Considering how early we got Pepe sent off we have to take [a point],” Arteta told Sky Sports. “I never like a draw but in the circumstances, it’s a point. It is unacceptable.”
All eyes were on Pepe as he was named in Arsenal’s starting XI to take on Molde in Europe.
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And the £72million forward made a complete U-turn, becoming Arsenal’s golden boy with a stand-out performance for the Gunners.
“Yes I am really pleased,” said Arteta, discussing Pepe’s performance in the Europa League win and his opening goal for the Gunners.
“After the disappointment you want to see something stand-out really quickly and I could see from the first minute his body language that he was ready to act.
“I think he had a great performance. He scored a goal.
“He could have scored another one or two, created some great moments in the game and worked really hard for the team. I really liked it and I’m so pleased for that.”
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