Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has lauded Nicolas Pepe for his current form, but has warned him that his consistency will ensure he will keep his place on the team.
Pepe has been hot and cold since his £72 million from Lille 18 months ago.
The Ivorian has mainly played on the right wing, but the 25-year-old scored for the third straight away game in the Premier League during Tuesday’s loss to Wolves playing from the left.
It’s a position captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has made his own during Arteta’s time at the club.
With Aubameyang back in the squad after his mother’s illness, Arteta now has a big decision to make ahead of Saturday’s Aston Villa game.
On whether Aubameyang would replace Pepe over the weekend, Arteta told a news conference.
“At the end of the day, we have to play with the players who are in the best shape and they all have to earn the right to play and participate in the games.
“That’s what everyone is doing, pushing each other to raise the bar. You can see that the level has risen because everyone is playing their best. There is still room for improvement, so everyone has to keep pushing.”
Speaking on bouncing back from wolves defeat Arteta said “I don’t know how hard it is for everybody but we have to move on.
“We have a big game on Saturday and we need to go again.
“There are things to learn from the game, things that we cannot control obviously, and a lot of positives to take there.”