Africans Abroad: Nicolas Pepe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang inspire Arsenal comeback, Kelechi Iheanacho strikes again

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Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang led an inspiring Arsenal comeback on Monday as they each scored during a nine-minute blitz to end the Gunners’ miserable winless streak with a 3-1 triumph at West Ham United.

The triumph lifted some of the doom around Arsenal after an exasperating loss of form in recent weeks, with the Londoners winless in nine matches before their second-half performance turned the tide in their favour.

There was an unswerving inevitability about Aubameyang’s adroit finish to complete the turnaround, and the Gabon international now has 43 goals in the English Premier League since arriving from Borussia Dortmund ahead of the 2018-2019 season — a tally equalled only by Jamie Vardy during this period.

Aubameyang’s excellent showing was about more than his 69th-minute strike; he also contributed the assist for Pepe’s goal three minutes earlier, and would have had another had Mesut Ozil not headed his cross over from close-range.

The former Dortmund man continues to thrive in London derbies, having now been involved in 12 goals in his past 11 league games against sides from the capital.2

Pepe can look back on his best Arsenal performance since netting twice against Vitoria Guimaraes in early November, as he proved a dynamic presence down the visitors’ right, ending the match with a joint-game-high three completed dribbles.

The Ivory Coast international’s highlight, of course, was his goal, which put Arsenal ahead after Gabriel Martinelli had drawn them level, although it’s worth noting that, by this point, the hosts had replaced goalscorer Aaron Cresswell with DR Congo’s Arthur Masuaku, a defensive weak link for the Hammers on nfl jerseys cheap paypal

It was the kind of performance — bright and incisive – that neither Craig Shakespeare nor Claude Puel was able to summon from the striker, but Rodgers appears to be enjoying making the one-time wunderkind his latest pet project.

“He was great,” Rodgers told the Leicester Mercury. “He played the role how we wanted him to play, creates Jamie’s first goal, gets the second one with a good finish.

“You saw him in the cup games; he comes in and he scores. He did it at Everton, came on and made a great impact. It’s just a case of him coming in with confidence.

“I thought he was very good [against Villa], his hold-up play, his link-up with the midfield; he was excellent.”