Arsenal head into their Sunday evening game against Wolverhampton Wanderers down in a lowly 12th place in the Premier League.
With almost a third of the 2020/21 campaign done and dusted, Mikel Arteta’s side need to be looking to get the results that propel them up the table.
In order to do so, the Spaniard needs his top players to be firing on all cylinders, but that would appear to be beyond Nicolas Pepe, according to former Arsenal star, Paul Merson.
“Nicolas Pepe looks out of his depth and he’s going to have to do it against much better teams than Molde to change my opinion,” Merson wrote in his Daily Star column.
“I can understand how he got sent off in the Leeds game. He’s been having a nightmare ever since he joined Arsenal and one Europa League goal in Norway won’t change that.
“He let his frustration get the better of him against Leeds and did something silly with the headbutt, because things haven’t been going well for him at Arsenal for months.
“He came in for £70-odd million. If they’d bought him for £20m nobody would be moaning. But the fee brings pressure, and he’s not been able to handle it.”
The Frenchman will almost certainly have learned a harsh lesson after that recent sending off at Elland Road, and there’s a reasonable argument that he needs to up his game if he wants to be considered a regular starter under Arteta.
If there’s one thing the manager has made quite clear too, you’re either with him or you’re not, and he has no problem freezing anyone out of the side, record signing or otherwise, if they’re not pulling their weight.