Nicolas Pepe has finally produced the kind of performance that Arsenal might have hoped while investing a club record £72 M to sign him. Two free-kicks in the final 10 minutes of the game made sure that Arsenal escaped humiliation by completing a dramatic comeback against Vitoria SC in the Europa League on Thursday.
Arsenal found themselves trailing twice in the first half as the score at half time read 2-1. It did not change untill the 80th minute. Pepe, who came on as a substitute, scored a spectacular free kick in the 80th minute and another equally clinical in 92nd minute, to take Arsenal through.
NICOLAS PEPE HAS DONE IT AGAIN! ?
He rips a free-kick into the top corner in added time to snatch all three points!
Sensational strike! ? pic.twitter.com/HLZ6NVZjaU
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) October 24, 2019
— Football My Religion (@StandForChamps) October 24, 2019
Talking about Pepe in the post match press conference, Arsenal manager Nicolas Pepe said: “We are very happy for him. He was trying a lot of set pieces last week and I was expecting him to shoot after that. I think the most important is the three points and how individual players can improve.”
“New players usually need time for that adaptation and Pepe is a good player we believe in totally. He’s improving and tonight his two goals were very important.”
Pepe, who came in with huge expectations, did not have the best of starts in North London. Talking about his season so far, he said that he was not at his best physically due to a short preseason.
“I am not at my best physically because I didn’t have a proper pre-season like the others,” he told Arsenal.com. “I was at the African Nations Cup. I started little by little and the manager knew about it. I am trying to work hard to be stronger physically to perform well.”