Jose Mourinho's prediction about Nicolas Pepe has not come to fruition as Mikel Arteta excluded him from Arsenal's strongest XI.

The Gunners boss had a full squad to choose from during the north London derby as they beat Tottenham 3-1 at the Emirates.

And the Spaniard elected to bring Granit Xhaka straight back into the line-up after returning from suspension despite Arsenal's successive wins against Norwich City and Burnley.

Arteta deployed a 4-3-3 formation at Turf Moor with Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe in the middle of the park ahead of Thomas Partey, but reverted to his favourable 4-2-3-1 set up against Spurs as Xhaka replaced Pepe.

Arsenal's Nicolas Pepe and Burnley's Charlie Taylor battle for the ball (


Anthony Devlin/PA Wire)

Has Nicolas Pepe been a failed signing for Arsenal? Comment below

Pepe joined the Gunners from Lille in the summer of 2019 in a deal worth up to £82million, but has failed to live up to his price tag.

The winger has had an inconsistent start to the Premier League season, which sums up his time at the club so far.

Mourinho had high hopes for Pepe when he first joined Arsenal as he spoke about his "fantastic potential" when he watched him at Lille.

He said: "Last season after I left United, I went a few times to Lille because my friend is the coach there [Christophe Galtier] so I know quite a lot about his qualities," Mourinho said on Sky Sports at the beginning of the season.

"They were playing 4-4-2 and he was the right sided player. He knows how to defend, to play in the 4-4-2 as the right winger, you know how to defend, not only that area but also the inside.

"He does that very well. When he has the ball and also without the ball, he is very effective and very direct.

Jose Mourinho previously talked up Nicolas Pepe's potential (



"The goals that he misses against Arsenal, he normally doesn’t miss it. He’s very cool in front of the keeper and I think this boy has fantastic potential.

"To play as they did last weekend against Liverpool, was out of his natural habitat.

"If they are to play three in midfield with him, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at the front, looking to the movements, I think they can make it a real force."

Theirry Henry echoed these sentiments back in November 2019.

He added: "When you arrive like that, you're always going to be talked about, and people are always going to target you," Henry said.

"He needs to make sure he doesn't listen to that and go out and perform. People need to forget about the price tag. He didn't ask to be bought for that amount of money himself.

Thierry Henry pleaded with Arsenal fans to five Nicolas Pepe time (


Prime Video Sport)

"It’s not always easy to arrive in a team, adapt to a new style of play. The Premier League, as we know, is not the same as the French League or any other league, by the way. So he needs to adapt to that. We need to give him time."

Pepe could reclaim his place in the side as Xhaka picked up an injury in the 3-1 win over Spurs, but it's clear to see, when everybody is fit, he does not consider the forward as one of Arsenal's best eleven players.

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