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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta warns in-form £72m star Nicolas Pepe he will be axed again if standards slip


NICOLAS PEPE has been warned he will be out of the team if he lets his standards slip again.

The £72million Ivorian star proved to be a slow burner at Arsenal since his record move from Lille nearly two years ago.

Nicolas Pepe has received a stern warning

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Nicolas Pepe has received a stern warningCredit: Guardian News & Media

But now boss Mikel Arteta is hoping the penny has finally dropped for the inconsistent winger who frustrates and excites in equal measure.

Pepe, 25, scored his tenth goal of the season on Thursday night to set the Gunners on their way to a 4-0 Europa League win at Slavia Prague.

And Arteta said: “We all know Nico has the incredible ability to succeed and we can give him all the help he wants to achieve that.

“But now it all depends on him because he needs to have the right mindset to consistently do what he can.

“What he has produced in the last few games is the level of performance that I am going to ask from him all the time.

“And if it is something below that level then he is not going to be playing.

“The biggest thing for Nico is understanding what he needed to do when he was not in the team and then producing that when he did play.

“He needed a period of adaptation after coming from the French league but that is over. We can’t talk about adaptation any more. Now it is all about performance.

“Nico has the players to support him, a manager that trusts him, all the staff that are willing to help him and team-mates who really like him. So now there are no excuses.”

Pepe looks more effective since being switched to the left wing in recent weeks and is likely to get another chance to shine against Fulham tomorrow. 

Arsenal will be without key players like David Luiz, Kieran Tierney and Martin Odegaard.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be absent again as he recuperates from malaria.

Arteta said: “Auba had rough days but  is at home  and wants to come back very quickly.”

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