Football News

Mikel Arteta: Nicolas Pepe is “not happy” with his current role at Arsenal

By Ben Green

Published: 17:57, 23 December 2021 | Updated: 19:31, 24 November 2022

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has admitted Nicolas Pepe has been less than satisfied with a more restricted role this season.

The Ivorian winger, who joined the Gunners for £72m from Lille in 2019, has started just five Premier League games this campaign, making a further three appearances from the bench.

He just reminded his manager what £72m gets you after bagging a brace and providing a further two assists as Arsenal cruised past Sunderland 5-1 in the League Cup quarter-final on Tuesday night, with the Londoners getting Liverpool in the semi-final draw.

Bet £10, Get £20 in Free Bets T&Cs apply

18+, UK only. Deposit and place a minimum £10 cash bet at single or accumulated odds of 1/1 or greater and we will give you 1 x £5 in free bets plus an extra 3 x £5 Free Bets the following day. Applies to first cash bet only. Free bets credited as 4 x £5 bets to use on 3x Any sport & 1x Virtuals. Cashed Out, Void or Draw No Bet wagers do not qualify for this promotion. 1 x £5 Free Bets are credited upon qualifying first bet settlement, other free bets credited by midday the day after your first bet settles. 7-day free bet expiry. Available once per customer. This offer cannot be combined with any other promotion. Full T&C’s apply.

18+ only. New UK customers only. T&Cs apply.

Claim Here
Bet £10 & Get £30 in Free Bets T&Cs apply

18+ only. Use code BET30. New Players Only. Minimum stake $/€/£ 10, minimum odds1.5, stake not returned.1X wagering the winnings from the free bet. Wagering occurs from real balance first. Wagering requirement is calculated on bonus bets only, wagering starts from real funds. Free bet is valid for 7 Days from issue. Max conversion: $/€/£ 200. Excluded Skrill deposits. Withdrawal requests voids all active/pending bonuses. Full Terms Apply

18+ only. New customers only. T&Cs apply.

Claim Here
£20 in free bets when you place a £10 bet T&Cs apply

18+ only. £10 min. deposit required. 1 x £10 qualifying bet required. Qualifying bet must be placed on selection with min. odds of 1.8 (4/5). 4 x £5 Free Bets will be credited once the qualifying bet has been settled. 1 x Free Bet valid for any Football Match Result market. 1 x Free Bet valid on any Football Correct Score market. 1 x Free Bet valid on any Horse Racing market. 1 x Free Bet valid on any Tennis market. Free Bets valid for 7 days once credited. T&Cs apply.

18+ only. New customers only. T&Cs apply.

Claim Here

Incredibly, that was Pepe’s first start for the club since October 26 — the previous round of the League Cup against Leeds United —  moving further down the pecking order as promising youngsters Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe continue to shine under Arteta.

The club’s record signing was in scintillating form earlier this week and provided two assists of the highest quality, first nutmegging Sunderland left-back Denver Hume to tee up Eddie Nketiah, before setting up Hale End wonderkid Charlie Patino.

It was a gentle reminder of Pepe’s skill-set, but given the quality of the opposition, coming up against a club slogging it out in League One, the Ivorian is unlikely to nudge his way to the front of the queue in that single showing alone.


Arteta has now confessed that Pepe has not been best pleased with the reduced minutes he has been receiving this campaign, though he did stress that the 26-year-old has shown a hunger and appetite to fight for a first-team place at Arsenal.

“A player that doesn’t play, if he’s happy you have a big problem and Nico has not been happy,” said Arteta.

“He’s been trying to challenge us and asking us for more minutes because this is what he wants to do, and rightly so, and this is the attitude that we want from our players.”