There are a few different ways of looking at players starting for Arsenal in the Europa League.
On one hand it could be viewed as a magnificent chance to play well and force Mikel Arteta to keep you in the side for the weekend, but it mainly looks like he’s using the competition as a chance to rotate some players and give them time to play.
Nicolas Pepe has had a mixed time since making his club record move from Lille last year, and it does look like the price tag is weighing him down on the pitch.
Every time he has a bad game he tends to find himself straight back on the bench, so starting against Molde tonight could be an ominous sign:
? TEAM NEWS IS IN ?
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) November 5, 2020
He had a mixed game against Dundalk last time where he was guilty of being wasteful in possession, but he also scored an utterly outstanding goal which was genuinely world class.
A lot of the fans have been reacting to the starting XI tonight, and these Arsenal supporters think this isn’t a great sign for Pepe in the Premier League:
Pepe starting this match means he won’t start against Aston villa ????
— Brian ? (@AfcBrian_) November 5, 2020
YESSSSS PEPE NOT STARTING ON THE WEEKEND pic.twitter.com/BtZTZQA9Es
— harv (@afcharv) November 5, 2020
Pepe and ceballos should probably be taking first team places for Saturday imo
— YankeeGunner (@YankeeGunner) November 5, 2020
Come on Pepe! Earn that starting 11 place. We know what you can do….!
— Ron Swanson (@RSwanson_UK) November 5, 2020
I still have the feeling that Arteta is waiting for a Pépé masterclass to kick Willian out of the starting XI
— Joe King ? (@ImJoe_King) November 5, 2020
Sad how Pepe has been reduced to Thursday night duties. Prob wont even finish the game.
— Femi (@ModernAfrican) November 5, 2020
Will be a nice chance for Pepe to prove he deserves to start in our starting XI
— Martinelli G.O.A.T (@AFCTom_7) November 5, 2020
From a neutral point of view it would be fascinating to see what would happen if he lights up the game tonight, because Arteta needs to show the squad that great performances will be rewarded and it could give him a selection headache at the weekend.