EPL

Arsenal 2-0 Brighton and Hove Albion: Gunners miss out on Europe despite Pepe double

By Sports Desk May 23, 2021

Nicolas Pepe scored twice as Arsenal beat Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0 to finish eighth in the Premier League, missing out on European qualification for the first time in 25 years.

Pepe put the Gunners ahead early in the second half on Sunday when he received the ball from Calum Chambers and produced a fine angled finish.

The Ivory Coast international added a second on the hour when he arrowed the ball into the net after a jinking run into the penalty area.

Arsenal's win was not enough to nudge them ahead of bitter rivals Tottenham, who claimed a 4-2 victory over Leicester City to deny the Foxes a Champions League spot.

Thomas Partey showed positive early intent with a long-range effort which flashed just wide of the post, while Granit Xhaka's volley shortly after was comfortably gathered by Robert Sanchez.

The lively Partey continued to look dangerous and Sanchez pushed his speculative shot away before he smothered Xhaka's free-kick.

Rob Holding thought he had poked the ball over the line from a corner just after the half hour only for the assistant referee to raise his flag for offside.

Brighton flickered into life before half-time with Jakub Moder's shot blocked and Lewis Dunk firing high into the stands.

Gabriel's looping header had Sanchez scrambling back but the ball bounced off the crossbar.

Pepe put Arsenal ahead four minutes into the second half with an exquisite finishing, chipping a cross from Chambers into the air with his left foot before crisply striking it low into the net with his right.

A fine ball from Martin Odegaard allowed Pepe to find space inside the box shortly afterwards and despite a crowded area he managed to direct his shot beyond Sanchez.

Mikel Arteta's men played out the remainder of the game with swagger as Partey struck the crossbar and Brighton rarely threatened, but there will be no continental competition for the Gunners next term.

Related items

  • Rumour Has It: Barca want De Ligt and Leicester eye Coutinho as Man Utd hold further Sancho talks Rumour Has It: Barca want De Ligt and Leicester eye Coutinho as Man Utd hold further Sancho talks

    Could Matthijs de Ligt leave Juventus?

    De Ligt joined Juve from Ajax in 2019 but his future has been a topic of discussion.

    Barcelona were strongly linked with him before he left the Eredivisie and are reportedly still keen admirers.

     

    TOP STORY – DE LIGT A BARCA TARGET

    Barcelona are keen on signing Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt, according to Le10 Sport.

    LaLiga giants Barca have already brought in Manchester City duo Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia, while they are also said to be interested in Memphis Depay of Lyon and Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland.

    But it is claimed they are particularly eager to further bolster their defence in addition to Garcia's arrival, though they could face competition for De Ligt – Manchester United have long been linked with the Netherlands international.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - Mundo Deportivo reports Leicester City are considering a move for Barca outcast Philippe Coutinho. It would be a reunion for Brendan Rodgers and Coutinho after working together at Liverpool.

    Atletico Madrid are eyeing Hakan Calhanoglu as an alternative to Udinese star Rodrigo de Paul. LaLiga champions Atletico want De Paul, who has also been linked with JuveInter and Leeds United. Should they miss out on the Argentina international, Calhanoglu is an option – the Milan star's contract expires at the end of June.

    United have held further talks with Borussia Dortmund in their pursuit of Jadon Sancho, says Fabrizio Romano. Dortmund reportedly want £81million (€95m), though United are currently unwilling to pay more than £60m (€70m). Liverpool and Chelsea have also been linked previously.

    - Romano also reports Gianluigi Donnarumma's contract with Paris Saint-Germain until 2026 has been agreed. The Italy international goalkeeper is set to join PSG on a free transfer following the end of his Milan deal.

    - According to Corriere dello Sport, Milan are in talks to sign Real Madrid pair Brahim Diaz and Alvaro Odriozola on loan. The Rossoneri have also been linked with Luka Jovic and are seemingly poised to secure the permanent signing of Fikayo Tomori from Chelsea as well.

  • Blue Jays crush eight homers in 18-4 rout of Red Sox, Tatis' grand slam lifts Padres Blue Jays crush eight homers in 18-4 rout of Red Sox, Tatis' grand slam lifts Padres

    The Toronto Blue Jays produced an offensive avalanche as they humbled American League (AL) East rivals the Boston Red Sox 18-4.

    Toronto lit up Boston with eight homers on 20 hits in Sunday's devastating MLB victory at Fenway Park.

    Teoscar Hernandez hit a pair of three-run homers, while Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Cavan Biggio, Rowdy Tellez and Marcus Semien also went deep.

    It was a devastating display as the Blue Jays pounded the Red Sox, who allowed the most home runs in their history on home soil.

    Bichette became the third player in Blue Jays history with a four-hit, five-run game as Guerrero continued his stellar season – the Toronto star now leads in MLB in home runs, RBI, OBP, SLG, OPS and total bases.

     

    Slam Diego!

    The San Diego Padres defeated the New York Mets 7-3 thanks to Fernando Tatis Jr. Tatis hit a tie-breaking grand slam in the seventh inning to help snap a four-game skid. Padres team-mate Manny Machado followed with a home run.

    Walker Buehler pitched six scoreless innings as World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Texas Rangers 5-3. Buehler allowed just five hits to remain unbeaten since 2019. The Dodgers ace has now recorded a loss in 22 consecutive starts, the second longest streak in franchise history – behind Kirby Higbe's 23 straight starts.

    Craig Kimbrel closed out the Chicago Cubs' 2-0 win over the St Louis Cardinals. The Cubs completed a three-game sweep for their fifth consecutive victory to move level atop the National League (NL) Central. Kimbrel struck out three in the ninth inning. In each of his last seven appearances, he has posted a save without allowing a hit. According to Stats Perform, it is the third time in Kimbrel's career he has achieved the feat in seven-plus consecutive games. No other pitcher has had more than one such streak since saves became an official stat in 1969.

     

    Yankees reeling after latest loss

    The slumping New York Yankees were shut out 7-0 by the Philadelphia Phillies. The Yankees have now lost seven of nine games and 13 of 18.

     

    Randy slam

    Randy Arozarena hit his first career grand slam in the Tampa Bay Rays' 7-1 rout of the Baltimore Orioles. Arozarena homered in the seventh inning.

     

     

    Sunday's results

    Philadelphia Phillies 7-0 New York Yankees
    Washington Nationals 5-0 San Francisco Giants
    Atlanta Braves 6-4 Miami Marlins
    Tampa Bay Rays 7-1 Baltimore Orioles
    Chicago White Sox 4-1 Detroit Tigers
    Cincinnati Reds 6-2 Colorado Rockies
    San Diego Padres 7-3 New York Mets
    Seattle Mariners 6-2 Cleveland Indians
    Toronto Blue Jays 18-4 Boston Red Sox
    Houston Astros 14-3 Minnesota Twins
    Milwaukee Brewers 5-2 Pittsburgh Pirates
    Oakland Athletics 6-3 Kansas City Royals
    Los Angeles Angels 10-3 Arizona Diamondbacks
    Los Angeles Dodgers 5-3 Texas Rangers
    Chicago Cubs 2-0 St Louis Cardinals

     

    Rays at White Sox

    It will be a blockbuster showdown as the two best teams in the AL clash on Monday. AL East pacesetters the Rays (42-24), who own the best record in the American League, travel to Central leaders the White Sox (41-24). Tyler Glasnow takes to the mound for Tampa Bay, while the White Sox counter with Lance Lynn.

  • NBA playoffs 2021: Jokic's ejection leaves MVP and both teams 'shocked' as Nuggets suffer sweep NBA playoffs 2021: Jokic's ejection leaves MVP and both teams 'shocked' as Nuggets suffer sweep

    NBA MVP Nikola Jokic did not expect to be ejected as the Denver Nuggets were swept from the playoffs in a controversial decision that surprised head coach Michael Malone and Phoenix Suns counterpart Monty Williams.

    Jokic was tossed in the third quarter of Denver's 125-118 defeat to the second-seeded Suns, who sealed a 4-0 series victory in the Western Conference semi-finals on Sunday.

    Crowned MVP on Tuesday, Jokic was assessed a flagrant two foul following a lengthy review after taking a swing at Suns guard Cameron Payne in Game 4.

    Jokic became the first MVP swept in a postseason series since Magic Johnson in 1989 and the Serbian star discussed the incident post-game.

    "I wanted to change the rhythm of the game, I wanted to give us some energy, maybe change the whistle a little bit, so I wanted to make a hard foul," Jokic said.

    "Did I hit him [Payne], did I not hit him? We don't know. So I say sorry if I did because I did not want to injure him or hit him in the head on purpose. I thought honestly they would not eject me."

    "I shouldn't do that. Of course it was my bad. I'm sorry," Jokic said. "But I cannot change it now. It happens."

    Already facing an uphill task to avoid elimination, Jokic's absence made life even tougher for the third-seeded Nuggets as Suns duo Chris Paul and Devin Booker dominated.

    "I just didn't feel like it warranted a flagrant two ejection because he's making a play on the ball," said Malone.

    "There's marginal contact to Cameron Payne's nose I believe. So I was shocked, I'm still a little bit shocked that they called a flagrant two and ejected the MVP on such a play."

    "From my vantage point and watching the replay, I did not think it was a non-basketball play with malicious intent," Malone said.

    "I think it was a frustration foul, Nikola probably felt the last couple plays when he had the ball he had not received a foul call. And he went over there to take a foul. Which he has done plenty of times. A lot of players do that."

    "I didn't really think it was anything malicious," said Williams. "In those moments you have to regulate your emotions. That's what we've been talking about all season long.''

    Jokic and Suns All-Star Booker were involved in a confrontation following the incident as a scuffle briefly broke out.

    But Booker – whose Suns reached the Conference Finals for the first time since 2009-10 – said: "That's all I said, just 'What are you doing?' It's just an emotional play. I don't think he meant harm by it. Just a frustration foul. It's tough, just defending my team-mate, that was it.

    "I've played against the Joker multiple times. I know he's not a malicious player."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.