Pepe was Arsenal’s star man as the Gunners claimed their first win of the Premier League season by beating Norwich City 1-0 at the Emirates to ease the pressure on Mikel Arteta
Nicolas Pepe swiftly deleted an Instagram post which joked about Arsenal ‘s potential relegation.
The Gunners had lost their first three games of the Premier League season but beat Norwich City 1-0 at the Emirates on Saturday to get off the mark.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goal in the second half separated the sides after Pepe’s initial effort hit the post, allowing the Gabonese captain to tap home.
But the Ivorian stood out by completing the most dribbles (3) and creating the most chances (7) during the match.
It eased the pressure on manager Mikel Arteta after a nightmare start to the season.
Pepe made headlines post-match, though, captioning an Instagram post: “We are staying up!! Thank you Arsenal fans for all your support.”
The reference to avoiding relegation followed jokes regarding the club’s fate this term after being bottom of the table heading into the clash, with supporters chanting it in the stands, prompting Arteta to respond in his press conference following the affair.
“I didn’t hear that but if it was done in a funny way, you have to accept it.”
He then somewhat bizarrely labelled it his best fortnight in football after the transfer window closed and the international break took place.
“I must say that probably it has been the best 10-15 days I have ever had since I have been in football,” stated Arteta.
“I am not saying that they were the easiest, but probably the best. Because you have to find a purpose, why you do what you do and why you have made the decision to become a football player, a coach,” he explained.
“It is about the relationships that we have built, it’s about the level of trust that everybody at the club has, the connections.”
Despite the 5-0 defeat at the hands of former employers Manchester City, Arteta managed to refine his squad before the window slammed shut and was pleased with how his players returns for their national exploits.
“Emotionally, how players react, how everybody in the team, and I am talking about any department at the club, supports, follows and tries to be positive around the situation.”
The Spaniard added: “You have to win football matches but it is a joy to watch how everyone was behaving around the context that we had around.
“I got pretty emotional to see that because I think it is pretty difficult to see football and people maybe were expecting something, they want to go another road – try to transmit hate or whatever – it wasn’t the case at all. So, thank you so much.”
New signing Takehiro Tomiyasu made his Arsenal debut by starting at right-back, managing to win the most duels (10) in the game despite only playing 62 minutes.
The Japan international, signed for around £17 million from Italian side Bologna on deadline day, and his new manager was impressed with his performance.
“[It was] really positive. Just the first impression when you met him, it was just joy and happiness and good energy.
“The moment he steps on the pitch he was really focused, determined, he understands the role really good. He was cramping,” the Gunners boss explained.
“Obviously he only trained a day and a half with us, he had to travel, and emotionally it was his first game and we had to take him off.”