Patrice Evra and Graeme Souness hailed ‘amazing’ Nicolas Pepe after Arsenal beat Sheffield United in the Premier League.
The Gunners clinched their third win from four league games this season on Sunday, beating Sheffield United 2-1 at the Emirates.
After a goalless opening 60 minutes in north London, Bukayo Saka celebrated his first England call-up with a header from Hector Bellerin’s cross.
Just minutes later Pepe – who joined Arsenal in a club-record deal worth £72million in the summer of 2019 – made a superb run down the right wing and then slotted into the bottom corner to double the lead.
Sheffield United’s David McGoldrick got one back for the visitors late on but Arsenal held on for a deserved victory that sees them climb to fourth in the Premier League.
Following the match, Premier League legends Evra and Souness both heaped praise on Pepe.
‘There was big pressure on him [when he arrived at Arsenal],’ former Manchester United and France defender Evra told Sky Sports.
‘When I came to the Premier League, my mistake was to think that I would be a beautiful player [immediately].
‘Because actually you have to spend some time in the gym and get stronger. That’s what Pepe needs to do.
‘But he’s an amazing player. He scored many goals in the French league and I have a lot of respect for the French league.
Souness added on Pepe’s goal: ‘That looks simple, but he’s going flat-out there.
‘I think there’s a real player in there. Hopefully he can establish himself and continue to get used to the intensity of the Premier League.’
Arsenal star Saka, meanwhile, said after the 2-1 victory: ‘All the things that have happened to me. I feel blessed. I’m a happy man.
‘I don’t get a lot of headers but it fell perfectly for me. I told Hector what a cross it was. It is the kind of patterns we work on.
‘I am trying to do my best when the boss picks me. I try to repay the trust.
‘We gave so much credit to Sheffield United as they are a good side. We are happy to get the points.’
Following the international break, Arsenal face Manchester City at the Etihad.
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