Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Mikel Arteta lauds Nicolas Pepe after Arsenal win

Mikel Arteta has lauded Nicolas Pepe following Arsenal’s win over Crystal Palace, insisting – in comments reported by Football London – that he is now benefitting from matching his superb talent with how hard he is working.

Pepe has now scored three times in his last two appearances. It was the 25-year-old who bookended their victory on Wednesday, with the first and Arsenal’s third at Selhurst Park.

(Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

His overall performance was a reminder of how good the Ivorian can be at his best. The good news for Arsenal is that they have seen a lot more of that side of Pepe in recent months.

And Arteta suggested that his form is a reward for the amount of work he is putting in away from the pitch right now.

(Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

“I am very encouraged and positive to think that way for two reasons,” he said, as reported by Football London, when asked whether Pepe is finally showing the quality and consistency of a top Premier League player. “One because he’s come a long way in terms of consistency and what he’s producing in games, not just in the Premier League but what he’s done in Europe this season.

“And the second one because it’s in his mindset. He wants to look at every action, he wants to look at every post-match reflection that we do with him, he wants to work and he wants to be the best. When that happens and he has the talent that he has I think it’s a really good mixture.”

TBR View: Pepe’s challenge is to step up next season

Pepe has now scored 14 goals in all competitions, including eight in the Premier League. Only Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have scored more for Arsenal in the top flight.

The challenge facing the winger is to make sure that he carries this form into next season. He has given Arsenal fans a reason to smile at the end of a long and extremely underwhelming campaign.

He now needs to show that he is ready to step up when Arsenal go again next year.

If this form is a sign of what is to come, he could be a devastating player for Arteta’s men moving forward.

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