Arsenal news: ‘Everybody is excited’ – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette ready to fire with ‘weapon’ Nicolas Pepe


The Gunners’ new club-record signing made his debut off the bench against Newcastle following his summer transfer from Lille

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cannot wait to turn Arsenal’s fearsome double act into a treble.

Between them last season, Aubameyang and strike partner Alexandre Lacazette hit the net 50 times in a partnership that sparkled both on the pitch and off it.

But now there has been a new man at the Emirates Stadium in the shape of club record £72 million ($87m) signing Nicolas Pepe.

The Ivory Coast international struck 22 times for Lille last season, and the prospect of him linking up with an already formidable frontline has been a mouthwatering one for Arsenal fans.

And Aubamyeang – who opened his account for the new season with the winner at Newcastle on Sunday – admits both he and Lacazette are just as excited as about lining up with their new team-mate.

“We are happy that Nicolas came,” said the Gabon international. “Of course I have a special partnership with Laca, but I think we both have the same mentality.

“We play for the team first, so I think it has been going to be easy [to play with Pepe].

“We have tried to connect with him in training and for the moment it has been going good, very good.”

Arsenal fans got their first sighting of Pepe at St James’ Park on Sunday when he was introduced for the final 20 minutes of the 1-0 win.

Lacazette was an unused substitute on Tyneside, however, with Unai Emery preferring not to risk the France international following the ankle injury he suffered against Lyon at the Emirates Cup.

But with Arsenal next in action on Saturday when Burnley visit the Emirates, there has been plenty of time for both players to build up their fitness ahead of the Gunners’ first home game of the new season.

And that raises the prospect of all three of Arsenal’s star attackers starting for the first time together – should Emery opt to unleash them against the Clarets.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Arsenal 2019-20

“I think everybody has been excited about that,” said Aubameyang. “We know he [Pepe] can help us to reach our goals. It has been another weapon for us and that has been very, very good.

“It will be difficult I think for him (Emery), but that’s the game. When you have a good team it has been like that and you have to make choices. 

“The next game we play at home and we will see what has been the decision of the coach, but as I say I am looking forward to it.”

Aubameyang topped the scoring charts in the Premier League last season with 22 goals, sharing the Golden Boot with Liverpool duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

And he got himself up and running immediately for the new campaign with the winner early in the second half at St James’ Park.

His expert finish from Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ fine pass ensured Arsenal returned home from the north-east with maximum points and earned the frontman the Man of the Match award.

“It has been always good to start like that when you are a striker,” he said. “When you score you feel happy, you feel confident.

“We were happy to start like that. I think last season we started a bit bad, but this time we did well and were happy to get the three points.

“Every game has been important, but of course the first game of the season has been really important. I am happy that we took the three points away.

Nicolas Pepe Arsenal 2019-20

“We knew it was going to be hard and it was, but we didn’t concede a goal and it was a good job from the team.”

Two players who were not involved in Newcastle were Mesut Ozil and Sad Kolasinac, who both stayed at home due to the ongoing security situation involving them and their families in London.

The attack two weeks ago that saw both threatened and chased by arm robbers has since been followed by further incidents, with two men arrested outside Ozil’s house late on Thursday night.

That led to Arsenal withdrawing both from the squad to face Newcastle and it has been unclear whether they will be back for this weekend’s game against Burnley at the Emirates.

And Aubameyang admits it has been tough to see his team-mates having to endure such a distressing situation.

“I think everyone has been a bit sad because it has been not good when you have problems in life, especially when it has been your team-mates,” said the striker.

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“I feel bad for them, but I hope that it has been all going to be good. I am thinking about their families. I know it has been not easy, but hopefully the police will do good things for them and protect them.”

Aubameyang added: “We send them messages. When we see them at training we are happy they are safe and hopefully it has been going to be a better situation in the future.

“We were thinking about them [on Sunday] and we got the win for them, so that’s good.”


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