Arsenal keep season alive with Crystal Palace late show as Nicolas Pepe benefits from new-found stability

·3-min read
<p>Calum Chambers and Nicolas Pepe are developing a good understanding at Arsenal</p> (Getty Images)

Calum Chambers and Nicolas Pepe are developing a good understanding at Arsenal

(Getty Images)

Just when Arsenal thought their season was over, it has sparked into life ahead of the Premier League’s final round of games on Sunday.

Victory over Crystal Palace means they go into the weekend knowing they could land themselves a spot in the Europa Conference League, if results go their way.

That seemed out of the question over a week ago, before they headed to Chelsea, but Arsenal are making a late charge now.

They made a late charge against Crystal Palace too, scoring twice during injury time to claim a 3-1 win.

In truth, on the balance of play, they deserved it after dominating the first half and taking the lead through Nicolas Pepe.

Palace could also have been down to nine men, but VAR decided referee Anthony Taylor was right to only show Christian Benteke and Jeffrey Schlupp yellow cards.

Schlupp could have seen red for a late tackle on Calum Chambers, while Benteke appeared to catch Mohamed Elneny with a raised elbow.

As it was, both men stayed on the pitch, and Benteke then struck in the second half to make it 1-1.The Belgian headed home a free-kick and, cheered on by a Selhurst Park crowd wanting to give Roy Hodgson a fitting send-off, you wondered if Palace would kick on.

Arsenal had taken their foot off the gas and let the Eagles back into it, but the Gunners clicked into gear right at the death.

First, Gabriel Martinelli scored from Martin Odegaard’s arrowed cross and then Pepe cut in from the right to smash home his second.

Suddenly, Arsenal’s season is alive ahead of Sunday’s match at home to Brighton.

Tierney looks back to best on day of Euro call-up

When he injured his knee against Liverpool last month, it was feared Kieran Tierney could miss this summer’s rescheduled European Championship.

There were concerns the Scotland international would require surgery and, if that was the case, he would have struggled to play again this season.

In the end, Tierney did not need to go under the knife and it was fitting on the day he was called up to the Scotland squad for the Euros that he looked back to his best.

The left-back looked fully fit and he was back to bombing up and down the flank to create chances for his team-mates.

He set up Pepe for Arsenal’s goal, linking up nicely with Bukayo Saka and crossing to find the Ivorian.

It was a sight Arsenal fans have not seen for a fair few weeks, but one that will have filled them and Scotland supporters with joy.

Pepe forming partnership with Chambers

During a difficult season for Arsenal, Pepe has managed to impress and prove his critics wrong.

The Ivorian was impressive against Crystal Palace, scoring twice, and it was no more than his display deserved.

It has not been an easy time for Pepe since he moved to north London, but he appears to be forming a good partnership with Chambers.

The duo linked up well down the right at Selhurst Park and Pepe appears to be thriving off having a settled right-back behind him.

Too often that role has chopped and changed, with Hector Bellerin and Cedric Soares filling in.

Now Chambers has emerged as the regular first-choice, the stability appears to be rubbing off on Pepe.

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