Arsenal

Why Mikel Arteta shouted at Nicolas Pepe as Arsenal fans create new chant for starboy Charlie Patino

Here we go, Saka and Patino…

Charlie Patino was born in the 2003 – the year Arsenal went unbeaten and were famously crowned as Invincibles.

That will make a lot of readers feel old but one thing it certainly shows is how the Gunners are constantly looking towards the future.

The average age of their starting line-up against Leeds was just 24 and once again on Tuesday night they opted to field a number of youngsters in the Carabao Cup.

Patino’s ten minute cameo gave him just enough time to introduce himself to the Arsenal faithful, who had already prepared a song for the 18-year-old midfielder.

‘Oh Charlie Patino!’ sang the 50,000 plus supporters inside Emirates Stadium, as the midfielder went on to score his debut goal after poking home from Nicolas Pepe’s cross.

It will be a long lasting memory for Patino and his family – one that he’ll hope to repeat on many more occasions in the near future.

Nketiah proves pundit right

Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has urged Eddie Nketiah to commit his future to the club.

“My advice would be, I’d say stick here. Stick here for two, three more years. He’s a kid, he’s got plenty of years left,’ Merson said on Sky Sports.

“He’s only going to get better and better. This is the place. You weigh it up. You probably go to a bottom half Premier League team.

“You sit and play on scraps, going on away games and not even getting shots on target. You’ve got to weigh all that kind of stuff up.”

Nketiah has informed Arsenal via his representatives that he will leave the club in the summer, citing a lack of first team opportunities as his main reason for looking elsewhere.

His hattrick performance against Sunderland was another timely reminder of his striking qualities in a competition where he introduced himself to the Arsenal fans when he scored twice against Norwich in extra time.

With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang seemingly exiled and unlikely to feature for Arsenal anytime soon, Nketiah could be about to get more first team chances then he would have reasonably expected.

Could he change his mind on signing a new contract at Arsenal? We’ll see how this one plays out over the coming weeks.

Arteta’s Pepe demands

Nicolas Pepe hasn’t played for Arsenal in almost two months, where he has instead become accustomed to the substitutes bench throughout the winter months.

However, he was handed a rare opportunity against Sunderland and certainly took it with open arms as he conjured up two assists and an excellent goal to contribute to the quarter-final victory.

In the 40th minute, Arteta could be seen shouting ‘Nico, Nico, Nico!’ as he demanded the Ivorian to get back and mark the Sunderland fullback.

A similar story played out in the second half when Pepe lost the ball in his own half to which Arteta covered his face with his hands.

Pepe’s attacking success in the game will live long in the memory, but the flashes of defensive slackness may be one reason why Arteta has been so hesitant to give him opportunities over the past few months.

 

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