Nicolas Pepe’s surprise answer when asked to name toughest defender he’s faced

Nicolas Pepe has had an underwhelming debut season at Arsenal
Nicolas Pepe has had an underwhelming debut season at Arsenal (Picture: Getty)

Nicolas Pepe somehow failed to name a single defender he’s struggled against during a Q&A session with Arsenal team-mate Matteo Guendouzi.

The 24-year-old attacker arrived in north London to great fanfare last summer after the Gunners wrapped up a £72million agreement with Lille following weeks of intense speculation.

Though Pepe has shown glimpses of the quality he possesses in his opening six months at the club, Arsenal fans would undoubtedly have expected their club-record signing to have made more of an immediate impact.

The Ivorian has managed just three goals and three assists in the Premier League this term and new head coach Mikel Arteta has made it clear he wants to see improvements in an attacking sense.

Pepe couldn't name one tough defender he's faced
Pepe couldn’t name one tough defender he’s faced (Picture: Arsenal FC)

Pepe was widely criticised following Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea last month, with Martin Keown and Rio Ferdinand both slamming the forward’s work-rate at Stamford Bridge, but the player himself appears content with how he’s fared so far in England.

During a rapid fire Q&A session for Arsenal’s official YouTube channel, Guendouzi asked: ‘Who’s the toughest defender you’ve played against?’

‘Honestly… nobody,’ Pepe replied.

Guendouzi, clearly surprised at the answer, responded, ‘Honestly’ to which Pepe replied: ‘Honestly.’

A damning indictment of the standard of Premier League defenders or a simply a sign the sheer confidence Pepe has in his ability? Perhaps a bit of both…

Elsewhere in the video, Pepe admitted he’s not the biggest fan of English cuisine and revealed that he’s often mistaken for Manchester United defender and Ivory Coast team-mate Eric Bailly.

Guendouzi is confident he's improving with every game at Arsenal
Guendouzi is confident he’s improving with every game at Arsenal (Picture: Getty)

Guendouzi is confident he’s coping well with the higher expectations placed on him this season after his meteoric rise at Arsenal last term.

‘The fans definitely expect different things from me now,’ the young midfielder told Arsenal’s official website earlier this week.

‘Right at the beginning, last year, I arrived as a new player, a young player who had just arrived and who was unknown.

‘Then, inevitably, my playing well from the beginning last year was something new but I was still seen as a young player and new player that they did not know. Now, I have shown them what I am capable of.

‘I have shown them that I can help the team a lot. So it is normal that they now expect a lot more from me, especially as I have played a lot of games last season.

‘Then, since the beginning of the season, I have started in numerous games so it is normal that they expect a lot from me. In any case, I will always try to meet [those expectations] on the pitch.

‘I think that I have a certain status in the team now. I have been able to show that I can perform well so I now need to be consistent, always help the team, always give it my best and always play well on the pitch.

‘I think I improved and that my level increased a lot this year. I really think that I have hit many milestones and moved up a good few notches.

‘I am even better than last season. My objective is to always keep making progress and that is what I will do in the years to come, keep on improving so I can be the best.’

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