Post-Match Report

Match report: Arsenal 2-0 Brighton

Pepe

Brighton -

Emirates Stadium
Premier League
Premier League
  Arsenal
      
                  Pepe (49
                   60)
            
   crest
Arsenal
Pepe (49
60)
2 0
  Brighton
   crest
Brighton

WHAT HAPPENED

A fifth straight win to close out the Premier League season was not enough to secure European football next term.

A second successive brace from Nicolas Pepe gave us all three points on the final day of the season, but results elsewhere didn't go our way, meaning we finished eighth for the second year in a row.

But at least the fans, returning to the Emirates, had a victory to cheer - as well as two well-taken goals.

The team emerged from the tunnel to a roar that belied the 10,000 inside the stadium - our largest attendance since we faced West Ham in March 2020.

The energy from the stands was soon transmitted onto the pitch. Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka both tried their luck in the very early stages, while Pepe had an effort charged down after being set up by Aubameyang.

We were looking bright in possession, and looked like we had taken the lead when Rob Holding bundled the ball just over the line from a corner, but it was disallowed for offside.

Gabriel hit the bar with a looping header from a deep Xhaka cross late in the half as we pressed for the opening goal.

We were making all of the running, as you expect with European football next season still up for grabs, but we could not capitalise on our pressure in the first half, and went in level at the break.

The scores from elsewhere at half-time had us moving up one place to eighth, but we could go no higher without getting earning all three points here.

More was needed, and just five minutes after the interval, we broke the deadlock. Calum Chambers fired in a low cross, Pepe controlled it with his left foot before crashing home with his right. It was his 15th of the season, and 10 minutes later he bagged number 16.

Martin Odegaard fed the Ivorian in the inside right position, and Pepe showed all the confidence of a man who's netted eight goals in his last 11 appearances, to slide the ball into the corner.

With Tottenham and Everton both trailing in their games, we were on course for seventh place, and European football again.

We had no intention of sitting back on the lead though. Thomas Partey came within inches of scoring his first Gunners goal when he controlled Xhaka's pass, then smashed a shot against the bar with the keeper Robert Sanchez beaten.

However, as news of Tottenham's late goals filtered around the stadium, the atmosphere became more subdued, and ultimately our final-day win was not enough.

HOW IT HAPPENED

Click here to relive the last day of the season with our play-by-play coverage

WHAT IT MEANS

We finish eighth in the Premier League, the same placing as last season (but with five more points), and it means we will not be competing in European football next term, for the first time since 1995/96.

League table

WHAT'S NEXT

We now all wait for the fixtures to be released on June 16 at 9am (UK time) to find out who we kick off the 2021/22 season against.

A couple of pre-season friendlies have already been announced, away to Hibernian on Tuesday, July 13 and then away to Scottish champions Rangers on Monday July 12.

The Premier League season kicks off on Saturday, August 14.

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