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Arsenal keep season alive as Pepe benefits from new-found stability

J

ust 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.


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