The attacker joined in the summer of 2019 from Lille for a £72million fee and while he has produced moments of quality, a lack of consistency has impacted his time at the Emirates.
After Pepe scored eight goals during his debut campaign, the hope was for the Ivory Coast international to kick on but he has struggled in the Premier League this season and was recently sent off at Leeds.
"We had to throw him in because we had some injuries and suspensions and it probably wasn't fair for him because he has missed a lot of football in the last year," Arteta admitted.
"But he is a leader and someone that trains really hard. He is really professional, a great communicator on the pitch and gives you some security and stability.
"I think he has done really well with Rob (Holding). He was really good again with David and with three clean sheets in a row, he fully deserves his chance to play."