Match Report: Arsenal 2-0 Brighton and Hove Albion – Gunners miss out on Europe despite Pepe double

Nicolas Pepe scored twice as Arsenal beat Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0 to finish eighth in the Premier League, missing out on European qualification for the first time in 25 years.

Pepe put the Gunners ahead early in the second half on Sunday when he received the ball from Calum Chambers and produced a fine angled finish.

The Ivory Coast international added a second on the hour when he arrowed the ball into the net after a jinking run into the penalty area.

Arsenal’s win was not enough to nudge them ahead of bitter rivals Tottenham, who claimed a 4-2 victory over Leicester City to deny the Foxes a Champions League spot.

Thomas Partey showed positive early intent with a long-range effort which flashed just wide of the post, while Granit Xhaka’s volley shortly after was comfortably gathered by Robert Sanchez.

The lively Partey continued to look dangerous and Sanchez pushed his speculative shot away before he smothered Xhaka’s free-kick.

Rob Holding thought he had poked the ball over the line from a corner just after the half hour only for the assistant referee to raise his flag for offside.

Brighton flickered into life before half-time with Jakub Moder’s shot blocked and Lewis Dunk firing high into the stands.

Gabriel’s looping header had Sanchez scrambling back but the ball bounced off the crossbar.

Pepe put Arsenal ahead four minutes into the second half with an exquisite finishing, chipping a cross from Chambers into the air with his left foot before crisply striking it low into the net with his right.

A fine ball from Martin Odegaard allowed Pepe to find space inside the box shortly afterwards and despite a crowded area he managed to direct his shot beyond Sanchez.

Mikel Arteta’s men played out the remainder of the game with swagger as Partey struck the crossbar and Brighton rarely threatened, but there will be no continental competition for the Gunners next term.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *