Arsenal's $94 million record signing scored his first goal from open play for the club, and it was a stunning curled effort from near the edge of the box
Arsenal's Nicolas Pepe scored a stunning goal from open play on Monday night against West Ham United to bring to an end his drought. He also handed Freddie Ljungberg his first win as interim manager. Arsenal was level 1-1 when the Ivorian cut inside and bent home a superb strike from the edge of the area give his side the lead. It was his first from open play since joining the club for a club record $94 million in the summer, and Ljungberg says he was "so pleased" to see the 24-year-old finally exorcise his demons in front of goal, according to Goal.
The win was also Arsenal's first in 10 games, and moved it up to ninth in the Premier League table. Read more of our soccer coverage here. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Nicolas Pepe produced a moment of magic for Arsenal on Monday night to bring to an end his goal drought from open play and hand Freddie Ljungberg his first win as interim manager. The Ivorian, who moved to the Gunners for a club record $94 million in the summer, curled a stunning effort into the top corner in the 66th minute against West Ham to make the score 2-1 and effectively seal his side's victory. Arsenal had trailed through a fortunate Angelo Ogbonna goal late in the first half, but three goals in nine minutes in the second — first from Gabriel Martinelli, then Pepe, then Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang — completed a fine turnaround. You can watch Pepe's strike here:
Nicolas Pepe curls in an absolutely beauty for his first away goal in an @Arsenal shirt!📺 Watch on Sky Sports Premier League📱 Follow #WHUARS here: https://t.co/HJ3uRAl7fr📲 Download the @SkySports app! pic.twitter.com/sZKqEswaUd — Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) December 9, 2019
Prior to the game at the London Stadium, Pepe had scored just three goals for Arsenal, all of which had come from set pieces. His lack of prowess in front of goal has led to criticism from not only the club's fans, but a number of its former players too, including Charlie Nicholas said that Pepe's arrival had "not improved [Arsenal] at all," according to Goal. Pepe has also been critical of himself, telling RMC Sport that his start to life at the Emirates stadium had been a "bit negative" and that "lots of aspects" of his game need improvement. Ljungberg, however, who took over as Arsenal coach after the sacking of Unai Emery last week, believes the 24-year-old has all he needs to succeed in the Premier League, and those expecting instant results from him must be patient. "People always ask me about Nico and I try to explain," Ljungberg told Sky Sports after the match. "He comes from the French league to the Premier League, in my opinion, the best league in the world, it's a lot faster and a lot harder. "He needs to adapt and people put pressure on him and it's not easy, but I thought what he did [on Monday], he worked really hard offensively and defensively and showed his quality. "I'm so pleased for him because at the same time he was a big, big buy for the club and there comes pressure with that as well." Arsenal's win was its first in 10 games, and moves it up to ninth in the Premier League table, level on points with Sheffield United, Crystal Palace, and Newcastle United. Freddie Ljungberg's side next takes on Standard Liege in the Europa League on Thursday December 12.SEE ALSO: THEN AND NOW: What the world's greatest soccer stars looked like at the start of their careers Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: 5 things about the NFL that football fans may not know
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