Arsenal’s win against West Ham was sparked by nine minutes of our attack coming to life.
Nine minutes where we finally played the football that Freddie Ljungberg prioritises; fast passing, forward-thinking football that West Ham succumbed to.
It was enough to see us grab the points and hopefully fill us with the confidence that seemingly fuels our side, and indeed our players.
Nicolas Pepe is one of those. He has already commented on the difficult start he has endured since joining for a record fee, and the Ivorian enjoyed the goal that saw us take the lead against the Hammers.
His celebrations with boss Ljungberg typified how much the goal – his first from open play – meant to both the side and the player. Pepe runs on confidence and despite his stats being impressive and his take-ons galvanising our eleven on the pitch at times, he has flitted in and out of the side.
Now though, we can perhaps look forward to seeing what Pepe can do and a run in the side – and he can to.
Being a creative winger and relying heavily on a confrontational style, losing the ball comes with the territory. It is impossible for Pepe to avoid this. This could lead to critique that may well detract from what Pepe has to offer but the winger needs to ignore this and carry on regardless.
His whole game is built on beating his opposing full-back and cutting in, creating maximum damage with a cut-back or a shot and Pepe has shown he has the ability to get the better of most defences even when not playing at his very best.
When buoyed by confidence? Pepe could well light up our side.
His goal showed excellent technique and a great touch, and his assist for Aubameyang was evidence that he is not just a wide merchant, his boots, his vision and his touch is in-keeping with the intricate play that we favour.
We need to remember that Pepe will create and Pepe will excite, but in order to do so he will make mistakes.
He’s worth it.