ake no mistake, this has been a miserable season for Arsenal. But this final day against Brighton at least meant it ended with some positivity.
The Gunners beat Brighton 2-0, with Nicolas Pepe scoring twice, and all in all it was a comfortable afternoon’s work.
Fans were welcomed back to the Emirates for the first this time calendar year and, after making their voices heard outside by protesting against owner Stan Kroenke, they backed the team inside.
It was a feel-good atmosphere, with supporters simply happy to be back doing what they love most – watching their team in action. Arsenal responded, with Martin Odegaard in particular putting on a show in what could be his final game for the club.
The Norwegian’s loan from Real Madrid is due to expire now, but surely Arsenal will want to extend it after this performance?
Odegaard ran the show and his assist for Pepe’s second was no more than he deserved. Pepe too was excellent, scoring twice to round off a good season.
Arsenal have struggled throughout the season, however Pepe has been a bright spark and that should give hope going forward. And hope was the feeling most Arsenal fans probably felt as they left the Emirates following this win.
Arsenal have finished the campaign with five wins on the spin in the Premier League and that should provide optimism that things can improve.
They’ve missed out on European football for the first time in 25 years – with Tottenham pipping them to the Europa Conference League – but some will argue that is as good thing. Arteta will have a full week to prepare his side for Premier League matches next season and Arsenal can focus solely on that.
That scenario, with a successful summer transfer window, gives some hope the dark clouds could finally be clearing over the Emirates.