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Arsenal remain in Dubai, taking in some warm weather training during their winter break.
The Gunners have not played their 0-0 draw with Burnley on Sunday, February 2 and do not return to action until Sunday, February 16, against Newcastle United.
It is the first time in the Premier League’s history that there has been a winter break in the schedule, with half of the teams playing over the weekend just gone and the other half playing next weekend, giving every club a two-week break.
And Arsenal took the opportunity, like a number of other clubs – Manchester United and Chelsea to name but two – to go out to Dubai for some warm weather training.
A statement via Arsenal.com read: “Our first-team squad is heading for a training camp in Dubai during the forthcoming winter break.
“They will arrive on February 7, returning on February 11.
“Mikel Arteta will use the training camp to bring the squad together in a warmer climate as part of preparations for the fixture against Newcastle United on February 16, the Europa League clash against Olympiacos four days later and the run-in that follows.”
Arsenal have released video footage and photos from their time out in the Far East, with a behind-the-scenes video posted on Arsenal’s official YouTube channel appearing on Sunday.
During one clip, teen sensation Gabriel Martinelli wowed watching supporters with what he did to goalkeeper Matt Macey during a one-on-one drill.
The 18-year-old rolled the ball under the sole of his boot before flicking it over Macey in one movement.
But there was another player to catch the eye too – club-record £72million signing Nicolas Pepe.
The Ivorian has had a tough time of it in England so far, not quite living up to his price tag as yet. But supporters are starting to see an improvement in him.
And they noticed what he did to Rob Holding in the Dubai sunshine.
Pepe receives the ball on the right hand side, close to the camera and is tracked by Rob Holding. The winger, with excellent close control, then cuts back, taking Holding with him, before turning once more to head back down the win.
Holding is left a little behind by that move, but when Pepe turns once more, as if to head back towards his own goal, he leaves Holding in his wake, making space to get a ball into the box – although the camera cuts out there and we do not get to see what happens next.
It was enough to impress the Arsenal fans though.
In the comments on the YouTube page, user Sambo said: “Pepe does look like he is coming out of his shell now. He looks a lot more confident, so thats good.”
JayLaw felt sorry for Holding, saying: “Pepe, please Rob just came back from injury.”
MrCV said: “Pepe stop it mate. Can’t be exposing our defenders like that.”
FrostyMusic and Kie G also noticed saying: “Pepe just turning holding inside out,” and “Pepe leaving Holding for Dead, more of that me old fruit! Arguably the best dribbler in BPL.”