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Nicolas Pepe stars but Arsenal miss out on Europe despite Brighton win

Arsenal will not be playing in Europe next season despite finishing their campaign with a 2-0 win against Brighton.

Two second half goals from Nicolas Pepe were enough to see off the Seagulls and give Mikel Arteta’s side a fifth successive victory in the Premier League.

But it was only enough for an eighth-placed finish, with Tottenham securing a spot in next season’s Europa Conference League thanks to their 4-2 success at Leicester City.

Nicolas Pepe was the star of the show again for Arsenal, scoring twice for the second successive game in the Premier League.

Arsenal dominated the first half, but were unable to find a way through a resolute Brighton defence – with Gabriel Magalhaes going closest with a header that rebounded back off the bar.

But the hosts only had to wait four minutes after the restart to take the lead through Pepe’s 15th goal of the season.

Calum Chambers was the architect, crossing from the right, and the Ivory Coast international thumped a finish past Robert Sanchez to break the deadlock.

And the winger added his and Arsenal’s second on the hour mark, curling a fine finish into the far corner after Martin Odegaard had released him down the right.

It looked for a long time that the win would see Arsenal finish seventh, with Everton losing at Manchester City and Tottenham losing at Leicester.

David Luiz addressing the players having played his final game. Holding back the tears and at one point stopping to compose himself. Told the youngsters to “enjoy football” and “to end at the highest level.”

But three goals in the last 15 minutes for Spurs earned them a 4-2 win and ensured they took the qualifying spot for next season’s Europa Conference League.

Arsenal finished eighth, one point behind their north London rivals, and will now have a season without European football for the first time in 25 years.

Speaking after the win, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta said: “I’m happy with the performance and result, disappointed that we are not in Europe.

“We made progress in terms of points. 61 points last year would have taken you fifth, but it shows the level that the league is developing. We tried to do our best, we won the last five games, but it wasn’t enough.

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