In the second half, Nicolas Pepe scored two goals when Arsenal beat Brighton, was denied a place in Europe by Tottenham’s fightback against Leicester.
The strong end of the season moved the Gunners to an area where their rivals north London are looking to make the final day. And when Arsenal leave after Pepe’s double, they would claim seventh place from Spurs.
Despite finishing the season with five wins in a row. Arsenal was sentenced to eighth place as Tottenham won 4-2 at King Power Stadium.
That result breaks the Gunners’ record for playing in Europe every season from 1995-96. And means they have never finished more than Tottenham since 2016.
Arsenal director Josh Kroenke, the son of owner Stan, was present. Some of the 10,000 fans returning to the Emirates Stadium carried banners with “Kroenke out” banners.
The club’s involvement in the discontinued European Super League reinforces negative sentiments on the board.
Fans reiterated their opposition during the match. The news of Tottenham’s win was sifted after the final whistle, which was a tragedy. After Arsenal thought they had saved something from a disappointing season.
Transformation of Arsenal encourages.
The feel of the last whistle was very different from that in the middle of the second half.
Arsenal was at the top, with Gabriel heading for the cross in the first half before Pepe controlled Calum Chambers’ low ball into the Brighton box. And shot his right foot past goalkeeper Robert Sanchez.
Pepe then added his 16th goal of the season. By stroking the ball inside the far post with his left foot. After remembering Martin Odegaard, the ball was on his way to his right-wing.
There was a party atmosphere inside the ground where Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey volunteered. To cross the crossbar and dismantle his derby rivals as it seemed possible.
After Arsenal’s defeat to Everton on December 19, that had looked unthinkable as the Gunners were 15th. They had four points above the relegation zone and 11 points behind third-placed Tottenham.
The fact that they are so close, even after the Spurs’ seven-point lead with five games left, provides an incentive for next season.
So is the form of Pepe and Odegaard. Ivorian Pepe finished the season with five goals in three games.
Suggesting he could be a key figure for Arsenal next season. At the same time, Odegaard plays as if he wants to return to another loan spell at Real Madrid.
Potter is continuing building in Brighton.
Brighton had hoped to successfully end the season despite being guaranteed another Premier League football year with three remaining games.
They drew with West Ham and came back from beating defending champions Manchester City on Tuesday. And reaching 41 points to equalize in their four Premier League seasons.
They could not improve on that at the Emirates by hitting just one goal. At the same time, Arsenal’s victory would have been much more decisive.
Rob Holding had not conceded an effort in the first half after Party had hit Odegaard’s corner.
That meant the Seagulls finished one spot lower than last season on the 16th. But in the second year of him on the south coast.
Manager Graham Potter continues to improve his team’s quality and make their ball easier in their eyes.
The 46-year-old has already been linked with a move to Tottenham this summer. But if Brighton manages to keep his duties and full-backs, Ben White and midfielder Yves Bissouma. They could hope to improve next term again.
‘It was not in our hands, but we tried our best’ – they say
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta: “It was not totally in our hands. We have tried to do our best, but it was not enough.
“And this club also deserves both the trophies and the Champions League. And we have not been able to do that in a very challenging situation. Now we have to criticize ourselves and prepare well for the next season in the best possible way.
“That’s worrying because in last season, we have had 61 points, and we would finish fifth place. Now we are eighth, and that is a step we should point to.
“The level has gone up a lot. So the only way to do this is to get better next season and be more consistent. And this is the challenge we face.”
Brighton manager Graham Potter: “We did our best. But we were already in contention today. The boys kept going, and I can’t blame them for that. Sometimes you should have to be honest and say we weren’t at our level.
“We have had a tough week, a tough season. And maybe today was a step too far away for us. We were wrong to keep the attack long enough. We didn’t do enough to win the game, so the result is one good one.”