Marquinhos produced a near-perfect debut for Arsenal against Swiss side FC Zurich as the Gunners secured a 2-1 away win – but in the matter of just 90 minutes, it has ended Nicolas Pepe’s chances of a recall from Mikel Arteta.
Signed for just £3million from Sao Paulo in the summer, 19-year-old Marquinhos has been a regular in the Under-21 side. But after 42 senior outings for his boyhood club, a first-team Arsenal debut was always going to be close.
He got that on Thursday night. Away in Switzerland, Arteta made a number of changes to his side to keep the likes of Bukayo Saka fresh. Marquinhos got his chance, and boy, did he take it. A goal and an assist in a 2-1 win.
His goal is a gorgeous first-time finish, and his emotion when celebrating shows just how far he has come. But perhaps his assist was more impressive, a beautiful cross to find Eddie Nketiah at the back stick, to win the game.
Arsenal allowed Pepe to leave on loan in the summer. It meant that with Emile Smith-Rowe injured, Arsenal had just two senior wingers in Saka and Gabriel Martinelli. But Marquinhos’ early emergence has ended those concerns.
MARQUINHOS DEBUT HAS ENDED PEPE’S CHANCES OF AN ARSENAL RECALL
What a performance it was from the young Brazilian. He showed vigour, tenacity, quality and all, at just 19. He is a cheap signing. Edu will be hoping he has just pulled off a repeat of the signing of Gabriel Martinelli from Ituano.
Pepe, meanwhile, is expensive. Both in terms of wages and transfer fee. He has flopped at Arsenal, his attitude is below par and is eight years older than Marquinhos. Thursday night will have taken Marquinhos closer to the XI.
But for Pepe, it has ended any glimmer of hope that the Ivory Coast international might have had of getting another chance at The Emirates. Arteta has a new man out wide, and his name is Marquinhos.