Mikel Arteta sends message to Nicolas Pepe as Folarin Balogun scores first Arsenal goal vs Molde
All the very latest Arsenal news, views and transfer rumours ahead of the Gunners' return to Premier League action against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday evening
Arteta gives verdict on Pepe display in Molde win
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta says Nicolas Pepe’s performance in the 3-0 win over Molde was an “example” of the level he can reach.
The winger, who was sent off for a reckless headbutt in last weekend’s defeat at Leeds United, scored in an eye-catching display as the Gunners confirmed their place in the Europa League knockout stages.
Asked about Pepe’s impact against Molde, Arteta said: "We all know what his level is. All the time the question is how often can he get to that level and how often can he contribute to other aspects of the game.
"Today's the example. It has to be the level he has to hit and from then on he has to keep improving because he's capable of doing it."
Pepe publicly apologised after his red card at Elland Road and will be unavailable for Arsenal’s next three league games.
“After the disappointment, you want to see something stand-out really quickly and I could see from the first minute his body language that he was ready to act,” Arteta added.
“I think he had a great performance. He scored a goal. He could have scored another one or two, created some great moments in the game and worked really hard for the team. I really liked it and I'm so pleased for that.”
Arsenal fans react to Balogun goal
Arsenal fans took to social media in the aftermath of Arsenal’s Europa League win over Molde to congratulate Folarin Balogun on his first goal for the club.
The 19-year-old forward scored just 37 seconds after being introduced as a second-half substitute, opening his account on his second appearance for the Gunners.
Balogun has been the subject of speculation over a potential exit, with his contract set to expire next year, but Arsenal’s fans clearly expect the youngster to have a big future and some even want him to start ahead of Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah.
Arsenal academy graduates impress in Norway
Arsenal included eight academy graduates in their squad for last night’s 3-0 win against Molde in the Europa League.
Balogun, who scored in the second half, Emile Smith Rowe, who impressed in the No.10 role, Miguel Azeez and Ben Cottrell were all named on the bench in the 3-0 victory.
Arteta, meanwhile, also selected homegrown stars Joe Willock, Eddie Nketiah, and Ainsley Maitland-Niles in his starting XI.
Of those academy players, Willock has been at Arsenal the longest, having joined the club at the age of just four.