Emery reveals new boy having extra training
Arsenal boss Unai Emery has confirmed Nicolas Pepe is doing individual training work to help him adapt to life with the Gunners.
The Ivory Coast international joined from Lille over the summer having scored 22 goals in Ligue 1 last season, but it has been a slow start to life at the Emirates Stadium.
Pepe has since started three of Arsenal’s six games at the start of the campaign and is yet to show why the Gunners paid a reported £72million to bring him to the club.
Emery has used the 24-year-old as a second striker alongside Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in two games, a 3-1 defeat at Liverpool and last week’s 2-2 draw away to Watford.
Now the Spaniard admits he and his coaching staff are working closely with Pepe to speed up his adjustment in the hope he can impress against Aston Villa on Sunday.
Most take-ons completed in the Premier League after gameweek five:
🇨🇮 Nicolas Pepe (19)
🏴 James Maddison (17)
🇨🇮 Wilfried Zaha (17)
🇦🇷 Manuel Lanzini (17)
🇲🇦 Sofiane Boufal (15)
Nicolas Pepe leads the way. 🕺 pic.twitter.com/jxvnRTD958
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 16, 2019
“He needs to adapt,” said Emery. “He is playing well but progressively we know there is going to be more from him to help us and I want him to take the last step quickly in adapting for us.
“We are working with him – after training we are watching individual videos with him. He is playing well but also we need in our organisation to be strong with every player to improve a lot.”
Pepe came off the bench in the Europa League clash with Eintracht Frankfurt and is likely to be recalled to the starting line-up against Villa as Alexandre Lacazette remains sidelined with an ankle injury.
Fit-again Rob Holding will be pushing for his first appearance since December 2018 while full-backs Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney – signed from Celtic in the summer – both played a little over an hour in an under-23 fixture against Wolves on Friday night as they step up their respective comebacks.