Arsenal manager Unai Emery praised Nicolas Pepe after the latter’s brace helped the Gunners come back from behind to beat Vitoria.
Last season’s Europa League runners-up maintained their perfect record in 2019/20 by beating the Portuguese side 3-2 at the Emirates last night. Vitoria took just eight minutes to open the scoring thanks to Marcus Edwards before Gabriel Martinelli netted the equaliser. Just four minutes after Arsenal’s goal, the Guimaraes-based club restored their lead through Bruno Duarte.
The Gunners equalised in the 80th minute thanks to a free-kick from Pepe. It seemed like both sides would share the spoils until Arsenal won a free-kick in stoppage time. Pepe stepped up and scored a stunner from 25 yards to win the match for his team.
Following the game, Emery was all praise for the Ivorian international and said that he is improving in his adaptation process. Speaking to Arsenal’s official website, the Spaniard said: “Every player, usually, they need time to adapt. Pepe is a very good player and we believe in him, totally. The way he’s going, sometimes he feels better, sometimes it’s with more difficulty on the pitch.
“It depends on the opponent. He’s improving and tonight those two goals are really important for us first, and then secondly for him. He’s continuing the adaptation in his process and as soon as he can adapt, that’s better for us.”
Pepe joined Arsenal this summer on a transfer fee reported to be £72 million according to Sky Sports. The 24-year-old found it hard to produce the same level of performances he gave for Lille last season and things got even worse for him after he missed a sitter against Sheffield United on Monday. However, Pepe will certainly feel more confident now after winning last night’s match for Arsenal and we can expect the Ivorian international to produce more performances that justify his price-tag.
The Gunners’ next match is against Crystal Palace on Sunday.