Wilfried Zaha is yet again tipped with a move to Arsenal, but Nicolas Pepe has driven any such possibility into the grave where it belongs.
It only took one day for Arsenal to be “linked” with Wilfried Zaha again. I didn’t even click the headline, but apparently one of Zaha’s teammates has “tipped” Zaha to need the move to Arsenal, where he will also succeed.
Honestly, I don’t care. And I never have. There has never been anything about the Wilfried Zaha links that I have found appealing. Not a single thing. Part of me is only saying that because Nicolas Pepe is already better than him.
Check it out—this year alone, Pepe was far and away better than Zaha. And you don’t have to look any further than the numbers. I have been defending Pepe all year, encouraging people to look beyond the numbers.
But when it comes to Pepe vs Zaha, there isn’t a need to say anything more than what’s already there.
This year, Zaha played 3200 minutes, scored four goals and assisted three.
This year, Nicolas Pepe played 2000 minutes, scored five goals and assisted on six. That’s a big difference. And not just in minutes played.
Meanwhile, if you look at Zaha’s first full year in the Prem, when he played just 2000 minutes, he managed just four goals and two assists. Even in Zaha’s best year—3000 minutes, seven goals and nine assists—he doesn’t pan out, on average, with Pepe. He contributed a goal every 187 minutes. Pepe is contributing one every 181 minutes.
No matter how you stack up Zaha vs Pepe, the winner is clear, and it’s not the guy who might cost even more than Pepe did, just a year after we spent all that on Pepe.
I mean, surely I can’t be the only one who thinks this is stupid, am I? Are there genuinely people out there who would rather take Zaha over Pepe even though Pepe has done so much more than Zaha ever has and this was in Pepe’s “acclimation” season. The year he was highly criticized for never being good enough and not worth the money.
So what if we spend £80m on Zaha and he scored four goals and assists on five. What then? Would people criticize him?
Not that any of this matters, of course. Pepe is here, Zaha will never be. And whether you know it or not, we’re much better off because of it.