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Five things we learned as Arsenal beat Crystal Palace 3-1

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It looked like one of those days for Arsenal against Crystal Palace tonight, but the Gunners woke up in the final few minutes of the game, and that helped us get the win in Roy Hodgson’s final game as a manager.

A brace from Nicolas Pepe either side of Gabriel Martinelli’s goal to give us the lead in the 91st minute sealed what could prove to be a season-defining win for us.

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Here is a look at five things we learned from the fixture…

Nicolas Pepe masterclass

A lot has been said about Pepe since his arrival, mainly due to his transfer fee. He has had to go through a lot since joining the club, but the one thing nobody can deny is his quality on the ball.

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The Ivorian was absolutely sensational tonight. He scored two brilliant goals – one with each foot. He was heavily involved throughout the game, and although Martinelli will steal all the headlines, the former Lille man deserves the man of the match award.

Different rules for different teams

VAR was once again in the thick of things tonight. Crystal Palace could’ve received three red cards in the first half, but the referee ignored them and so did VAR, which isn’t a first at all for Arsenal this season.

Calum Chambers’ ankle was almost snapped in half, Kieran Tierney was kicked long after the ball had gone out and Mohamed Elneny was elbowed in the face by Christian Benteke.

If it was Granit Xhaka committing the same kind of offences, we all know how different the outcome would’ve been.

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The Alexandre Lacazette situation

Arsenal were in desperate need of a goal and our top goalscorer this season was itching to get on. Mikel Arteta, however, left him on the bench and brought on Granit Xhaka and Martinelli instead.

To be fair to the Arsenal boss, his substitutions worked but it does make you wonder if he doesn’t see Lacazette as a part of his plans for the future.

The Frenchman will enter the final year of his contract this summer. Many feel that he might be sold, and Arteta’s decision tonight when we needed a goal might just have confirmed that.

Aubameyang struggles again

We just can’t understand what has happened to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. He was arguably the most feared striker in the Premier League until the start of this season, but he has really struggled this term.

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Auba has had a lot to deal with in his personal life this season, and that has clearly had an impact on his performances. However, there’s still something wrong with him at the moment, and that really is worrying.

Martinelli has to start against Brighton

Without Martinelli’s brilliant run in the 91st minute, Arsenal would’ve dropped points. The composure he showed to get the ball into the back of the net showed just how good a player he is.

The Brazilian now has to start on Sunday. Arteta has been protecting him all season, but it’s time to unleash him. A win on the final day could get us back into Europe, and a confident Martinelli could prove to be too hot to handle for Brighton.

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