Arsenal forward Nicolas Pepe may have turned a corner tonight with his superb brace for the Gunners against Vitoria.
The summer signing from Lille has not had the best of starts to life at the Emirates Stadium, but tonight scored two quality free-kicks late on to help Arsenal come from 2-1 down to win 3-2.
Pepe showed his ability with two sublime strikes, and in doing so he became the first player since Luis Suarez in February 2013 to score from two direct free-kicks in one game in the Europa League.
The Uruguayan managed this during his Liverpool days as he put away two free-kicks in a game against Zenit Saint Petersburg, and Arsenal fans would love to see Pepe go on to have as good a career for them as Suarez did at Anfield.
2 – Nicolas Pépé is the first player to score two direct free-kicks in a Europa League game since Luis Suárez for Liverpool vs Zenit St. Petersburg in February 2013. Timely. #UEL pic.twitter.com/IBXkL7QE89
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 24, 2019
Regardless of the record, Pepe will surely remember this night forever, and he and AFC fans everywhere will be hoping this can be what kick-starts his career in north London.
Despite the quality of his two goals tonight, however, it is still amusing that the club’s record signing still hasn’t scored from open play for them.
Pepe’s other goal before tonight came against Aston Villa from the penalty spot.
Nicolas Pepe for Arsenal:
From set-pieces: 5 shots, 3 goals
From open play: 23 shots, 0 goals pic.twitter.com/OXPEqg8zpu
— CaughtOffside (@caughtoffside) October 24, 2019