Arteta explains Pepe benching

Arteta explains Pepe benching
Nicolas Pepe of Arsenal

by Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Dec 08, 2021. 15:00

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has explained why he opted to bring Eddie Nketiah off the bench instead of Nicolas Pepe in their 2-1 loss to Everton earlier this week.

Despite being the Gunners’ club record signing (£72million from Lille in 2019), Pepe has become a peripheral figure in recent weeks.

Monday’s clash against the Toffees presented Arteta with the perfect opportunity to bring the Ivorian winger off the bench after Gabriel Martinelli was forced off with an injury.

However, the Arsenal boss picked striker Nketiah instead, and has explained why he opted to turn to a player who is seemingly set to leave Arsenal either in January or at the end of the season.

“Because I decided to play Eddie today, to bring him on,” the Spaniard said when questioned over Pepe’s lack of minutes, as quoted by Metro.

“He created three chances and hit the post in the space of 25 minutes I think.”

Questioned further on the decision to pick Nketiah over Pepe, Arteta responded: “He does everything in training what you saw him do in 25 minutes here. Every single day. That’s why I picked him.”

Pepe will hope to get back into Arsenal’s team when they host Southampton in a Premier League clash on the afternoon of Saturday 11 December.

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