Social media – Twitter specifically – enabled me to meet a lot of the friends I now know well and when we can get back to the Emirates I will be joining to watch the games regularly. It has been valuable for me in that regard. But unfortunately I do despair of it at times. Well, less so the platform, more so some of the human beings on it. Yesterday Arsenal had to release a statement on their website and across social media platforms, condemning some of the horrid, vile and racist remarks of a few idiots on social media platforms like Twitter and when I saw a screen shot of what some people had said, it really saddened me. It was directed towards Nicolas Pepe and his sending off.
I was frustrated with the Ivorian as much as the next Gooner, but even the thought of sending him any abuse online – let alone racist remakrs – I find unthinkable. Yet there are some morons who think that is appropriate and Arsenal have said they will be supporting the police with their enquiries on this matter. Good. I hope they find the people responsible and punish them. It is not just football that racism has no place for, it is all walks of society.
As for the player himself, he posted an apology on his Instagram and admitted he had let everyone down. I think he knows that, he knows what his actions did and that he was suckered in by a con man. But he also knows – and hopefully will next time – not to rise to it. Don’t take the bait Nico.
For me that’s it. We move on. I’ve seen some people suggest selling him in January, that he can’t play for the club again, blah, blah, blah. To me that is an idiotic view on a number of fronts. Firstly, the idea that every time a player makes a mistake they are punished with the finishing of their career would mean we probably wouldn’t have many players left at the end of each season if that happened. Let’s not forget that these are young men, human beings, and they make mistakes. We saw that with Xhaka last season but look how he responded. He is still not everyone’s cup of tea, but he has been a good player for us and a useful part of Arteta’s squad since the manager joined. What if this low point can also be an inflection point for Pepe? What if this low can turn him around and we start to see a player with whom we had all hoped would emerge this season?
There is no doubt that the talent is there. He has shown patches of it for us since he signed and I am hopeful that this moment can be his equivalent of Xhaka’s mouthing off to the fans last year. Why not? He has the ability to do it.
I also have the will and desire to see it. I want to see Pepe become the player we all need him to become because, if we’re all honest here, as a club we can’t just cut our losses with players like other financially doped clubs can. We can’t just offload him and spend £80million on another superstar. We just don’t have the money and above all of that we should be focusing on other areas. Like attacking midfield, or perhaps another central striker, for example. That is why I am hoping that we can put this all behind us quickly and as many people back the player as possible.
It is also why I am crossing my fingers that Arteta doesn’t punish him by keeping him out of the Europa League on Thursday. He can’t play in the league for a few weeks but we can give him a shot at redemption in the Europa League in between time. Remember after the Villa game where Arteta said that he wanted have another game the very next day to get that out of the system? Well I bet Pepe must feel similar at the moment and I just hope he’s given a shot. Hopefully, as I have already mentioned, he’ll be feeling like he simply must prove everyone wrong and my hope is that Arteta is also had a talk with him and said “Nico, time to show your true self here” and gives him that opportunity at redemption.
We probably won’t have too much time to find out where Arteta’s head is at because there will most likely be a press conference tomorrow and so we’ll hear straight from the horses mouth. Let’s hope that Arteta also gives some positive words because, let’s face it, by the sounds of the muscular tweaks and injuries we have, it might look a little depleated in those wide forward positions.
I think that’s about it from me for today. I’ll catch you lovely humans tomorrow with some more thoughts. Maybe we’ll also get some more stuff filtering out from the club as the day wears on.
Catch y’all tomorrow.