Arsenal boss Arteta pleased with Pepe after 'negative' incident against Leeds United

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Nicolas Pepe Arsenal 2020-21
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The Ivorian forward was one of the standout performers as the Gunners advanced to the last 32 of the Europa League

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has heaped praise on Nicolas Pepe after he scored a goal in their 3-0 win over Molde in a Uefa Europa League game.

Four days ago, the 25-year-old who was sent off in the Gunners' goalless draw against Leeds United after headbutting Ezgjan Alioski at Elland Road, but he reacted to the incident with "a great performance" on Thursday.

After a goalless first-half at Molde, the Ivory Coast international broke the deadlock for Arsenal with his third goal in the Europa League this season.

Goals from Reiss Nelson and Folarin Balogun secured the empathic away win for the Gunners and Arteta has singled out Pepe for praise.

"I am really pleased. After the disappointment of something negative, you want to see a reaction and I could see from the first minute with his body language that he was ready to act," Arteta said after the game.

"I think he had a great performance, he scored one goal and could have scored another one or two. He created some good moments in the game and worked really hard for the team, so I really like it, I am pleased with that."

Arteta also insisted that the £72 million signing from Lille must be consistent with the type of performance he displayed at the Aker Stadion.

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"We all know what his level, and all the time the question is how often he can get to that level and how he contributes to other aspects of the game," the Spanish manager said.

"Today is the example of the level he needs to hit, and he needs to keep doing it because he is capable of it and you can see that every time he gets in those positions win the final third, he is a real threat and a very difficult player to control because he can go with his feet, he can come inside, he can shoot, he can create crosses and he can go in behind you as well.

"That is what we can expect from him."

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