Morning all.

Nicolas Pepe has left the club for good. Transfer exits throw up all sorts of emotions for many football fans I’m sure. Sometimes it’s relief, occasionally sadness but every now and again, for me at least, there’s a what if or if only. Then there’s why? Why did a certain player not work out, or why another had to be sold. David Rocastle to Leeds, Michael Thomas to Liverpool, Reyes and Anelka to Real Madrid, Fabregas to Barcelona, Serge Gnabry to Werder Bremen, Ashley Cole to Chelsea – to name just a few, brought a feeling of sadness, mixed with a bit of anger in regards to Fabregas and Anelka. Van Persia and Ashley Cole too. I’m sure you guys have a player or two to add to the list. Nasri, Hleb and Ramsey perhaps, albeit the latter left for free.

I think it’s fair to say though that in amongst the list of players you and I perhaps wish Arsenal hadn’t have signed is a long list of those who we were glad to see the back of, especially during the last few years of Arsene Wenger’s reign through to the present day. Players such as Aubameyang, Ozil, Giroud, Luiz, Sokratis, Chamakh, Santos, Xhaka, Gervinho – honestly, the list is far too long for me to write. The now departed Pepe being the most recent. Unfortunately for him, not long after he joined Arsenal, the club not changed its manager but the career of Bukayo Saka was just beginning to take off. Pepe still played many games, 42, 47 and 23 during his first three seasons and it was he who scored the first goal in Mikel Arteta’s first League win at The Emirates. A 2-0 defeat of Man Utd. Just a few months later, he played his part in our FA Cup run and eventual victory over Chelsea in the final. November the following season, Pepe was sent off for the first time in his career for head butting a Leeds Utd player early in the second half of the match. After the game, Mikel Arteta was quoted as saying:

It is unacceptable. Unacceptable. At this level you cannot do it. With ten men it is a big disadvantage. I really liked the personality of the team when Pepe let the team down, how we stuck to do what we had to do and had a moment or two to win the game, but obviously it makes it really difficult.

Was that the beginning of the end for Pepe? Only Mikel Arteta knows but what we all know is, he believes in discipline and players/staff, not letting the club down. Anyway, he’s gone now and perhaps he only has himself to blame. Just as any other player who Arsenal has sold because of their lack of respect for the club under Mikel Arteta. We wanted discipline and respect back so we can’t complain really now that it is.

I know I listed all the international fixtures the other day but here’s a reminder of what’s happening today.

Brazil (Gabriel, Martinelli, Jesus) v Bolivia
Azerbaijan v Belgium (Trossard)
Ukraine (Zinchenko) v England (Nketiah, Ramsdale, Rice, Saka)
Estonia (Hein) v Sweden
Germany (Havertz) v Japan (Tomiyasu)

Other than hoping for no injuries, I hope that Kai Havertz starts for Germany, has a cracking game and scores lots of goals. Sorry Tomiyasu, but Arsenal’s needs are great than Japan’s and this match is just a friendly. Havertz is the new Mr Marmite at the moment and Ramsdale isn’t far behind if the internet is anything to go by, although goodness knows why. Perhaps it’s because Raya is waiting in the wings, although it’s Ramsdale who makes the top ten on ESPN’s list, not Raya. Havertz, I just hope he’s horrid start to the season soon ends which is why I think this international break might help him. Come back next week and hit the restart button.

With Champions League fixtures just ten days away, a home fixture against PSV Eindhoven, Arteta has no room for passengers. Especially as he has ESR, Trossard and Vieira just waiting for their chance to come. I think we’ll see more of them over the next few weeks and months, Nelson too.

Lastly, it’s potentially a big night in the international career of Eddie Nketiah tonight as England face Ukraine in Poland. I hope he gets some minutes and of course, I hope he scores too. I can’t remember the last time England had a striker similar to Nketiah. If ever…

Catch up in the comments..