Nicolas Pepe’s heartwarming text message to Mikel Arteta which helped Arsenal beat Wolves

The 26-year-old winger played an influential role as Arsenal beat Wolves 2-1 at Emirates Stadium

Mikel Arteta has revealed that Nicolas Pepe played for Arsenal against Wolves less than 24 hours after becoming a father for the second time.

The Ivorian winger has struggled for game time this season but performed impressively for the Ivory Coast during the recent Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Cameroon.

Pepe, who is the Gunners’ most expensive signing at £72.5million, had been linked with a summer departure due to his struggles in the Premier League.

He scored the equaliser for Arsenal before providing an assist for Alexandre Lacazette to net the winner as Arteta’s side snatched the three points in the last minute of the game.

The goal was eventually awarded to Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa but Arteta revealed after the game that Pepe’s inclusion in the squad came as a surprise to him.

Pepe welcomed the arrival of his second child just hours before the game and it was the former Lille man who requested to be involved after sending an early morning text message to Arteta.

“Pepe, he had a baby last night. At 2-3am he text me and said yeah, I want to come and help the team. So this thing happened and it isn’t a coincidence, it’s because the togetherness and unity is there,” Arteta said on talkSPORT’s Sports Bar last night.

Arteta admitted after the game that Arsenal’s recent form is a positive step in the right direction when it comes to their top four hopes, but emphasised that there is still some way to go in the season.

“We don’t know because we are not there yet,” he said

“When we are there I will tell you how important it is. Today what is important is that we focus on playing better, maintain that capacity as a team to dominate and take the game where we want, and that’s what I want from everybody involved, especially the subs because today I think they were magnificent.

“There are some good examples for them to use tomorrow and we will keep going.”

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