Mikel Arteta says Arsenal’s record signing Nicolas Pepe must be ‘more consistent’ to become key starter

Mikel Arteta says Arsenal’s record signing Nicolas Pepe has to find “consistency” in his game to become a regular starter for the Gunners.

A player of undoubted talent, Pepe has suffered since signing for the Emirates Stadium side due to his inability to contribute positively on a regular basis; game-to-game, but also as his manager explains, from minute-to-minute in some fixtures.

With the boss restructuring the team to play a particular way, there are plenty of demands on the forwards both technically and tactically and Arteta says Pepe has been lacking in his decision-making at times.

“He’s not been first choice in all of the games at the moment but he’s played a lot of moments. Some have been better than others,” Arteta said.

“It’s about finding the consistency, not through the games but during the games as well to be more incisive, and do the right things on many occasions when he has to make the right decision on the pitch. ”

Arteta is keen for his attacker to keep trying the unexpected to break teams down, and acknowledges this is a high-risk part of the game, but says the end product has to be in keeping with the overall team approach.

“It’s nothing to do with his attitude. He’s a player who takes risks, a very creative player, that’s the most difficult thing in football, when the opposition know what you can do, how much they want to prevent the space, and creating situations from that is complicated.

“But sometimes it’s the simple things, the deliveries, the amount of situations he’s able to create or attract and then make the right decision to keep evolving that phase of play.

“For example, the finishing, the position inside the box, he has to be more consistent at it. We’re working on it, and hopefully he will be doing it much more efficiently.”

Pepe has scored twice this season, but has only made one start in the Premier League and has mostly been restricted to being a sub for the final 25 minutes or so.

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