Nicolas Pepe helped Arsenal beat Molde in the Europa League

Nicolas Pepe helped Arsenal beat Molde in the Europa League (Picture: Getty)

Mikel Arteta has challenged Nicolas Pepe to improve his consistency after he helped Arsenal secure a comfortable victory over Molde in the Europa League.

Gunners record signing Pepe was sent off for violent conduct in Arsenal’s draw with Premier League rivals Leeds United last weekend, but responded impressively on Thursday night as Arteta’s side booked their place in the knockout stages of the Europa League.

The £72m star opened the scoring for Arsenal in Norway, just minutes after hitting the bar, and created many more opportunities in a superb display.

Arteta was ‘really pleased’ with Pepe’s performance but said he must now reach that level more frequently for Arsenal.

‘I am really pleased,’ Arteta said after Arsenal maintained their perfect Europa League record.

‘After the disappointment of something negative, you want to see a reaction and I could see from the first minute with his body language that he was ready to act.

‘I think he had a great performance, he scored one goal and could have scored another one or two.

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‘He created some good moments in the game and worked really hard for the team, so I really like it, I am pleased with that.

‘We all know what his level, and all the time the question is how often he can get to that level and how he contributes to other aspects of the game.

‘Today is the example of the level he needs to hit, and he needs to keep doing it because he is capable of it.

‘You can see that every time he gets in those positions in the final third, he is a real threat and a very difficult player to control.

‘He can go with his feet, he can come inside, he can shoot, he can create crosses and he can go in behind you as well. That is what we can expect from him.’

Arsenal are currently only 12th in the Premier League table and will look to climb into the top-half on Sunday when they host Wolves.

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