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Nicolas Pepe becoming the star of the show

Arsenal’s attack has put in some decent work this season, but as the transition continues, Nicolas Pepe may be becoming the star of the attacking show.

Arsenal‘s attack is the most star-studded theater on the pitch, but they’ve had some trouble with consistency this year. While Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is in the golden boot race, as always, Alexandre Lacazette has struggled mightily and Nicolas Pepe is just now coming into his own after taking some time to acclimate.

But Pepe’s acclimation hasn’t just bred a capable player, it’s created someone who may well be the star of this star-studded attack.

Let’s track back to Newcastle and account for Arsenal’s past five matches between the Premier League and the Europa League. The stats tell a very specific story of who the star of the show is, and it starts with goal production, but doesn’t end there.

Arsenal has a lot of stars to choose from, but is Nicolas Pepe the best?

In that time, Nicolas Pepe has accounted for four goal contributions—one goal and three assists. Lacazette is level with four goal contributions—three goals and one assist. Aubameyang is also level with four goals scored.

The three stars, all even thus far.

But step back to key passes and dribbles completed and you’ll see who is shining the most. Pepe has nine key passes in that span and a massive 16 dribbles completed. Aubameyang has just two chances created and four dribbles. Lacazette is at three key passes and one dribble.

Let’s factor in Ozil too, for argument’s sake. He has eight chances, four dribbles, one goal and one assist. End of that discussion.

As you can see, while Aubameyang and Lacazette are all level on goals and Ozil isn’t that far behind, the creation statistics are out of this world. And while Pepe’s dribbling numbers are augmented by the 12 he completed in the loss to Olympiakos, his key passes are not buffered by any one standout performances. He has two matches with four key passes in each.

Pepe really has started to do some special stuff and as I keep referring back to, his rate of contributing a goal every 135 minutes is second only to Aubameyang’s 129 minutes, and that’s a very close second. Take into account the acclimation period and you wouldn’t be that far off in thinking that as of late, Pepe takes the cake there as well.

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It’s still a work in progress, but it won’t be long now before Pepe is the defacto star of this attack. Obviously that’ll be helped on a bit of Auba, Laca, and Ozil all leave.

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