‘No other explanation’ – Arsenal fans have a bizarre theory over Nicolas Pepe’s form

Nicolas Pepe put in an excellent performance to help Arsenal to an away win over Leicester City on Sunday.

The Ivory Coast international has been heavily criticised since his £72million move from Lille in 2019, struggling for consistent form under both Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta.

But on Sunday, he put in an inspired display, scoring as Arsenal completed a 3-1 comeback win having gone behind through a Youri Tielemans goal.

David Luiz and Alexandre Lacazette scored the other goals as the Gunners returned to the top-half of the table, and excitement has returned, not only over the prospect of a top six finish, but of Pepe taking a step towards reaching his potential.

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But according to Arsenal fans, for Pepe to continue his form, he may have to play on some superstitions.

That’s because Gunners fans have a theory that Pepe’s hand tape, which is used to protect some sort of hand or finger injury, has helped him discover form.

The tape was first pointed out in January when, wearing the bandage, Pepe scored to help Arsenal to a 3-1 away win over Southampton.

And the Ivorian has since scored another two goals wearing it, leading to some theories from Arsenal fans that, in a superstitious sense, the tape might be key to his form.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 26: Nicolas Pepe of Arsenal reacts during the Premier League match between Southampton and Arsenal at St Mary's Stadium on January 26, 2021 in Southampton, United Kingdom. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
Pepe suffered an injury to his hand earlier this year

Here’s what some fans have had to say on Reddit.

TSM_LittleRaphie – “The game was over before it started…”

WestwardLord – “Laca had one too. There is no other explanation.”

Strikar456 – “Hand Tape Pépé is a different breed of player.”

ProjectZues – “Can hand tape Pepe become our hand tape Suarez? …Found out next time on ‘top four is laca.'”

NinjaCuttingOnions – “Hand tape has given Pepe balance. He doesn’t get entangled in his own legs now.”

Interestingly, this is not the first time hand tape has been associated with good form in the Premier League.

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Atletico Madrid striker Luis Suarez suffered a hand injury at Liverpool and even after his injury, he kept his hand tape, continuing through his time at Barcelona and now at Atleti.

The Uruguayan striker kept the tape purely for superstitious reasons, believing it somehow plays a part in his form, and Arsenal fans might just want Pepe to do the same given the way his form has perked up in recent weeks.

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