Mikel Arteta was "very pleased" with the way Nicolas Pepe bounced back from his red card against Leeds, but wants Arsenal’s record signing to be more consistent.

Pepe has failed to hit the heights since joining for £72m last year and was dismissed at the weekend for headbutting Ezgjan Alioski.

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He produced a more positive performance in the Europa League against Molde on Thursday as he scored and created several opportunities.

“I am really pleased,” said Arsenal manager Arteta. “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. 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 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.

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“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 because 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.”

Arteta also suggests he expects youngster Folarin Balogun to stay after scoring his first goal for the club.

Balogun, who came on as a substitute against Molde, looked set to leave last summer, but Arteta said: “He is working really hard, he had some difficult months with all the speculation around him but he has handled the situation in a really mature way.

“He wants to stay, we want him to stay, we give him the opportunity and he took it straight away.”

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