Mon. Aug 2nd, 2021

 

A remarkable final day of action played out in the Premier League this evening, with Tottenham, when all was said and done, having booked a spot at the inaugural Europa Conference League.

Spurs sneak into Europe

Heading into proceedings on Sunday, all of Spurs, north London rivals Arsenal and Everton were in with a shot of securing a 7th-place finish.

It was Spurs who held the advantage ahead of kick-off, occupying the aforementioned Conference League berth, having seen their top-6 hopes go up in smoke in a costly defeat to Aston Villa last time out.

Everton, meanwhile, were locked on points with Ryan Mason’s men, albeit in 8th due to their inferior goal difference.

And Arsenal sat a point back, amid an encouraging upturn in form over recent weeks.

The Gunners faced the most straightforward assignment this evening, in the form of a meeting with Brighton at the Emirates, whilst Tottenham and Everton prepped for crunch showdowns with Leicester and Manchester City respectively.

Spurs pip Arsenal to Conference League berth, but Nicolas Pepe’s scintillating form an encouraging sign ahead of next season

ENFIELD, ENGLAND – MAY 05: Ryan Mason, Tottenham Hotspur interim manager during the Tottenham Hotspur training session at Tottenham Hotspur Training Centre on May 05, 2021 in Enfield, England. (Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

And Arsenal, when all was said and done, went on to do their part.

A 5th-straight victory was secured courtesy of a brace from the in-form Nicolas Pepe, early in the 2nd-half:

Upon Pepe’s 2nd versus Brighton finding the net, as things stood, the Gunners were actually in line to climb all the way to 7th.

This came with Everton having been absolutely picked apart by a rampant Man City side, who saw Sergio Aguero bid farewell to the Etihad with a brace off the bench:

Tottenham, meanwhile, trailed by two goals to one at home to Leicester, after a pair of Jamie Vardy spot-kicks cancelled out Harry Kane’s effort shortly before the interval.

Ryan Mason and co., though, simply refused to lie down.

First, a Kasper Schmeichel own goal 15 minutes from time dragged the Lilywhites level, guiding them back clear of Arsenal.

Then, with just minutes remaining in north London, Gareth Bale broke Leicester City hearts across the globe, slotting home Harry Kane’s pull-back to not only ensure their own spot in the first-ever Europa Conference League, but also push Chelsea back into the top-4.

And there was even time for the Welshman, on potentially his final appearance for Spurs, to grab a 2nd.

Pepe dazzling

In turn, on the back of a hectic final day full of twists and turns, it is Arsenal who have missed out on the Premier League’s final European berth, in altogether disappointing fashion.

The capital giants, though, must attempt to take the positives from their impressive late-season form.

And one aspect of this stretch which stands out above all others is the production of Nicolas Pepe.

Ivorian wide-man Pepe has of course endured an altogether underwhelming stint on the books of the Gunners to date, since arriving for a club-record fee in the summer of 2019.

The last couple of weeks, though, have seen the evidently talented wide-man finally come to life, over an extended spell.

In fact, his brace this evening made it not only five goals in his last three Premier League appearances, but also ensured that Pepe finishes out the campaign as the leading goal contributor in Mikel Arteta’s squad:

 

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