Arsenal 2-0 Brighton: Nicolas Pepe class sinks Albion and last dance for Yves Bissouma?

Brighton fell to a 2-0 defeat away at The Emirates after a Nicolas Pepe brace in the second half

Sunday, 23rd May 2021, 7:02 pm
Bissouma pressures Odegaard

Nicolas Pepe sliced through Brighton on two occasions to help his Arsenal side to a relatively comfortable 2-0 win at The Emirates.

Brighton finish the season on 41 points, which is the exact amount they finished on last season and their highest ever Premier League tally.

Nonetheless, it feels like progress has been made this season.

Potter went for a 4-3-3 set up this afternoon. He was either trying something new for next season or was tailoring his side to counteract Arsenal's strengths. I think it was the latter.

Brighton had their backs against the wall for the majority of the game, only escaping with a few counter attacks that resulted in very little.

It seemed like Albion were missing an outball - like what Maupay, Welbeck and Connolly provide. The latter came on in the second half but didn't have much effect on the game.

Brighton forced Arsenal wide - as they do to so many teams - but the Gooners were happy to take up this offer, having joy down the flanks with star man Pepe twisting and turning, which caused problems for Dan Burn particularly.

The half time whistle came at a good time for Brighton, with Arsenal going close on numerous occasions. Potter needed to freshen things up, and he did. Lallana and Connolly came on.

However, Albion gave themselves a hill to climb instantly in the second half.

Pepe put the Gooners 1-0 up in the 49th minute and then struck again on the 60th minute to double the lead.

On both occasions, the French winger found himself in plenty of space inside the Brighton box. He took one touch to set himself and the second to fire past Robert Sanchez. Both goals looking like carbon copies of each other.

Arsenal's flair players, Odegaard and Pepe, were stealing the show from what could be Yves Bissouma's last dance in an Albion shirt.

The Malian had one of his quieter games, probably due to Brighton having only 44% of possession, something quite unusual for Albion.

The midfielder did show glimpses of what he's capable of, producing a smashing recovery challenge on Pepe in the first half, heading away danger from corners and hitting a speculative effort from range, which had Leno scrambling.

Watching Brighton grow over the last three years into a Premier League main stay has paralleled Bissouma's progression as a player; both parties have benefitted tremendously from one another.

And now it's no surprise Bissouma is being linked with 'bigger' clubs.

It wasn't his best game by any means but what Brighton fans have seen over the period of three years is a dynamic, athletic and powerful player who plays with a pitbull-like spirit. What more could you want as a fan?

Smashing into tackles, getting into the opposition's face, doing the dirty work for his team. He can do it all, in defence and attack. A special talent that, if nurtured and taught correctly, like he had been by Potter, will grow into a top, top midfielder.

It was interesting to see Thomas Partey in the opposite number today.

He's a top draw player on his day in that defensive midfield role. Could he be Bissouma's next partner? I hope not.

Biss should be leaving for a Champions League team or stay put at Brighton and continue to help them climb up the Premier League hierarchy.

As Bissouma left the pitch this afternoon he had a few words to share with Pepe. We can only wonder what was said...