Football Expert & Columnist
Graeme Souness compares Nicolas Pepe to Thierry Henry after Newcastle goal
Souness: "You think of their best ever player Thierry [Henry], he came here and didn't have a great first season, took some time, and I see Pepe being a star here, great feet, electric and still a baby."
Last Updated: 17/02/20 1:28pm
Graeme Souness sees similarities between Nicholas Pepe and Thierry Henry in that, like Henry, Pepe has taken time to hit the ground running at Arsenal.
The Gunners boosted their European qualification hopes with a 4-0 rout of Newcastle on Super Sunday.
Mikel Arteta's team sprung to life after the break thanks to a brilliant Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang header from a Pepe cross and Pepe's fourth league goal of the season in the space of three minutes. Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette added gloss to the scoreline but it was Pepe's performance that had Souness purring.
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After taking time to adapt to the Premier League, Pepe has been starting to show under Arteta why Arsenal stumped up £72m for him in the summer from Lille.
"I think there is a real, real player in there," Souness said.
"You think of their best ever player Thierry [Henry], he came here and didn't have a great first season, took some time, and I see Pepe being a star here, great feet, electric and still a baby."
Ozil also looked somewhere near back to his best as his rejuvenation under Arteta continued.
Between the Lucas Torreira header which started the move for Ozil's goal and the finish which ended it, there were 35 uninterrupted passes - the most for any goal by any Premier League side all season.
That goal ended a 10-month barren run and capped an eye-catching performance.
"There are very few players playing anywhere that have his type of ability," Souness said.
"He's exceptional and, at his age now, he should be at the top of his game, scoring and creating regularly and working his socks off for his team. He's a very special talent, but how do you make him focus where he's bang at it every time he goes out and crosses the white line? That's the challenge for the new manager."
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However, Souness wants to see more from the German.
He added: "He keeps the ball but same old accusation, does he bust a gut? No. Does he do the hard yards? No he doesn't always.
"One goal in 10 months, still no if he had a different attitude where could get angry with himself if things aren't going well. He seems to accept things aren't going well.
"If he could get angry with himself he would (still) be at Real Madrid. Arsene Wenger was easy on him, Emery was hard on him, now it is a new manager's turn. He is not a boy any more, he is man who knows what he has to do be successful."