Mikel Arteta Impressed by Nicolas Pepe Red Card Response


Mikel Arteta was impressed with the way that Nicolas Pepe responded to his red card fiasco, and he expressed this sentiment after Arsenal overcame Molde to qualify for the knockout stages of the UEFA Europa League.

The Gunners dominated the game, but couldn’t open the scoring in the first half. The floodgates opened in the second half as Pepe put them ahead with a vicious scoring strike. Additional goals from Reiss Nelson and Folarin Balogun sealed a 3-0 win.

One of the players to look out for would have been the Ivorian winger given, what happened at the weekend. He was sent off against Leeds with the manager terming his actions as “unacceptable.

But the 25-year-old produced a stunning display against the Norwegian side and Arteta was quick to praise this.

According to Mirror, he said:

“Yes I am really pleased. 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.”

It was important for Pepe to bounce back in the way that he did and it is a testament to his mental strength. His pace and skill were a constant problem for Molde and they were not able to deal with him, at times, in this match.

The winger would have had another goal in his game as he produced a brilliant curling shot, only to see it hit the post. He didn’t let this bog him down though, as he ultimately provided the breakthrough for the Gunners.

There might have been criticism directed towards Arteta for starting Pepe after his red card, but his player showed that his faith in him was well deserved.

The North London club will be without Pepe for the next three games in the Premier League and the team will miss out on his skill and pace that can potentially disrupt the opposition defence.

He can utilize this time to introspect on the red card incident and avoid making that mistake again going forward.

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