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Arsenal made light work of Everton in a 5-1 victory at Emirates Stadium yet still had to resign themselves to playing Europa League football next season after Tottenham powered past Norwich.

Gabriel Martinelli, Eddie Nketiah, Cedric Soares, Gabriel Magalhaes and Martin Odegaard were on target but the result became incidental once Spurs secured fourth place in the Premier League by storming Carrow Road with a 5-0 win.

Emphatic defeats by Tottenham and Newcastle had left Arsenal needing a final-day collapse from their north London rivals to have a chance of qualifying for the Champions League but none materialised.

Instead, they had to sign off a disappointing season by crushing an Everton side that had climbed their Everest on Thursday night by delivering a stunning comeback win against Crystal Palace to escape relegation with a game to spare.

Frank Lampard made six changes and beyond a lone strike by Donny van de Beek, they played like a team who had already checked out knowing their season had been saved.

They were particularly vulnerable at corners with Arsenal engineering three of their five goals from the set piece and they looked in danger of capitulating right from the start.

Arsenal had lost the last three Premier League meetings between the rivals but as they poured forward with Bukayo Saka shooting high, that run looked certain to end.

Martinelli aimed a powerful shot on the turn directly at keeper Asmir Begovic as pressure grew on the visiting goal.

Everton had barely ventured from their own half inside the opening 20 minutes but when they did Demarai Gray was kept out by Aaron Ramsdale after being set-up by Dele Alli.

The one-way traffic quickly resumed, however, and when VAR intervened for an Alex Iwobi handball, Martinelli smashed the ball past Begovic.

Four minutes later and Arsenal had surged 2-0 ahead as a scruffy corner was worked to Nketiah by accident as much as design and the forward nodded home from close range.

Everton were in danger of being overwhelmed yet with the help of leaden footed home defence they pulled a goal back through substitute van de Beek, who slotted in Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s pass without breaking stride.

It then became the visitors’ turn to lose concentration as Saka worked a corner to an unmarked Soares and the Portugal right-back produced a mighty shot that gave Begovic no chance.

Gabriel Magalhaes was the next to profit from good work at a corner as he blasted in the fourth and by the 82nd minute it had become a rout as Odegaard found the bottom left corner despite his attempt lacking any real power.

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Arsenal’s quest for a return to Champions League football continued as they laboured to a 2-1 victory over 10-man Leeds with Eddie Nketiah’s brace sending the visitors into the Premier League relegation zone.

The clash at the Emirates Stadium was always going to have repercussions at both ends of the table and the result leaves the Gunners on the cusp of a top-four finish.

Nketiah, on loan at Leeds during the 2019-20 campaign, appeared to all-but seal the points in the opening 10 minutes before Luke Ayling was dismissed to add to the woes of Leeds head coach Jesse Marsch, whose side at least registered a goal through Diego Llorente.

Everton’s victory at Leicester saw Leeds drop into the bottom three at just the wrong time of the season, with Chelsea next up on Wednesday night.

For Arsenal, whose manager Mikel Arteta signed a new three-year deal on Friday, they now know victory at the home of north London rivals Tottenham on Thursday will ensure a first season of Champions League football for five years.

The hosts took the lead early on when Nketiah capitalised on a poor touch from Illan Meslier, closing down the goalkeeper and forcing the ball home.

Nketiah doubled the advantage with a well-taken finish from 12 yards as he turned home Gabriel Martinelli’s low cross having stood completely free inside the Leeds box.

Enjoying their football, Bukayo Saka picked up a delightful flick from Martin Odegaard but shot straight at Meslier.

Things went from bad to worse for Leeds as Ayling was sent off, the skipper seeing red for a two-footed lunge on Martinelli after referee Chris Kavanagh was advised by VAR to review the decision on the pitchside monitor.

Arsenal looked to make their numerical advantage pay, Odegaard forcing a good stop out of Meslier from a free-kick before Llorente hooked the loose ball off his own goal line.

Leeds traipsed off at the break having failed to register a shot on target in the opening 45 minutes – but Arsenal appeared to take their foot off the gas when the game resumed.

Meslier went largely untested during the opening minutes and Leeds struck with their first effort of the game as Llorente popped up at the back post to turn home Junior Firpo’s flick on from a corner.

The hosts toiled in their attempts to put the game to bed with a third goal, with Arteta turning to Nicolas Pepe and Emile Smith Rowe off the bench to freshen things up.

Leeds, though, remained a threat, Meslier coming forward for a late corner as tension grew around the Emirates.

He was back in the Arsenal box for a last-gasp free-kick which saw Rodrigo’s flick saved by Aaron Ramsdale, and the final whistle signalled a deep sigh of relief from the majority within the Emirates.

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Bukayo Saka banished his Euro 2020 final penalty shoot-out ghosts by converting a spot-kick as Arsenal toppled Chelsea 4-2 to reignite their bid for a top-four Premier League finish.

The England forward slotted home his first-ever penalty for Arsenal to seal the Gunners’ vital win over the Blues, that drew Mikel Arteta’s men level with fourth-placed Tottenham in the table.

Saka missed the last penalty in England’s 3-2 shoot-out defeat to Italy in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley last July.

The 20-year-old won the late spot-kick at Stamford Bridge by drawing a foul from Cesar Azpilicueta, and quickly insisted on taking the penalty himself.

Saka dismissed any nerves by side-footing home to boot, to put the seal on a crucial win for the Gunners.

Eddie Nketiah had twice seized upon slipshod defending to drive Arsenal into a 3-2 lead before Saka’s strike.

Nketiah capitalised on Andreas Christensen’s woefully under-hit back-pass for his first Arsenal goal in 367 days, to open the scoring in west London.

The 22-year-old forward later settled a scrappy but engrossing contest when three attempted Chelsea clearances landed the ball straight into his path and through on goal.

Timo Werner’s deflected effort had Chelsea level quickly after Nketiah’s first goal, with captain Azpilicueta then cancelling out a fine finish from Emile Smith Rowe before half-time.

The fatigued and off-kilter Blues were made to pay for a string of errors however, with £98million striker Romelu Lukaku again failing to fire.

Toni Rudiger’s absence with a minor groin problem destabilised Chelsea’s defence, and Christensen endured a night to forget.

The Denmark international was withdrawn at half-time in a below-par showing, but not even the peerless Thiago Silva could sharpen up the hosts.

Arsenal took full advantage of Chelsea’s malaise to notch just their second win in six league matches, breaking a wretched run of results to move below Spurs on goal difference, leaving the race to finish fourth wide open.

Lukaku’s sole meaningful act of a quiet first half was to drag wide after being played in by Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Chelsea had been under precious little pressure from the off, but constituted their own downfall with Christensen’s horror-show attempted back-pass.

The defender majorly under-sold his attempted pass to Edouard Mendy, instead gifting Nketiah a stroll in on goal.

Nketiah needed no second invitation, and duly cantered in before providing a crisp finish.

Chelsea were level just four minutes later however, as Werner’s 20-yard strike took a significant deflection off Granit Xhaka to beat Aaron Ramsdale at his near post.

Smith Rowe quickly had Arsenal 2-1 ahead however, with a sharp sidefooted finish after Saka had combined well with Martin Odegaard, who provided the assist.

The Blues needed just five minutes this time to level, with Azpilicueta sneaking in to provide a poacher’s finish to Mason Mount’s teasing cross.

Smith Rowe had the last word in the half as Arsenal attacked again, but this time could only whip his effort wide of the post.

Silva replaced Christensen at the break, with the 37-year-old clearly drafted in to sure up the Blues’ backline.

Not even the peerless Brazilian could solve Chelsea’s defensive shortcomings however, as Arsenal took the lead again.

Silva won the ball at full stretch only for Malang Sarr to bungle the attempted clearance, allowing Nketiah to pounce for his second of the night.

The ball fell kindly for Nketiah, but Chelsea again set themselves up to fail with woeful defending.

Lukaku was replaced by Kai Havertz moments after the goal, with a large swathe of the Blues support booing the Belgium striker.

Chelsea could find no route back into the contest, and at the death the Blues conceded a spot-kick.

Saka stepped up seemingly well aware of his attempt to erase any lingering Euros memories, and he wrapped up a fine Arsenal result with a coolly converted effort.

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Arsenal’s faltering quest for Champions League qualification suffered another setback after they slipped to an uninspiring 1-0 Premier League loss at Southampton.

Tottenham’s shock home defeat to Brighton in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off offered the Gunners the chance to move level on points with their fourth-placed north London rivals.

But Mikel Arteta’s men blew a major opportunity to capitalise at St Mary’s as Jan Bednarek’s strike on the stroke of half-time condemned them to a fourth defeat from five games.

Arsenal retain a game in hand on Spurs, albeit a tricky trip to Chelsea, while their latest slip-up provides further encouragement for fellow top-four hopefuls Manchester United and West Ham.

The Gunners dominated possession for much of the afternoon in Hampshire, but in the absence of the ill Alexandre Lacazette they often lacked a cutting edge and rarely troubled Ralph Hasenhuttl’s resolute hosts.

On the occasions they did, they were frustrated by in-form Saints goalkeeper Fraser Forster, who produced stunning saves to keep out joint leading scorers Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe either side of Bednarek’s decisive finish.

Victory for Saints ended a five-match winless league run to boost their aspirations of a top-half finish.

Arsenal ran out into the south-coast sunshine on the back of successive defeats to Crystal Palace and Brighton and without first-choice striker Lacazette due to Covid-19.

Yet the mood of manager Arteta would no doubt have been improved by Tottenham suffering unexpected frustration against the Seagulls.

He handed Eddie Nketiah his first league start of the season in place of the stricken Lacazette, while the hosts’ four changes following last weekend’s 6-0 thrashing by Chelsea included the recall of striker Armando Broja.

Arteta’s visitors – captained by Martin Odegaard – monopolised the ball for much of the opening period as they sought to escape their recent sticky patch. And they would have been ahead but for the inspired Forster.

The Saints stopper was alert to deny Gabriel Martinelli’s curling effort early on before producing a stunning stop to keep out England team-mate Saka.

Brazilian Martinelli was again heavily involved, delivering an inviting low cross from the right after Nketiah had seized on sloppy play from Yan Valery, only for the unmarked Saka’s goal-bound effort to be acrobatically tipped away.

Saints switched to five at the back after being humiliated by Thomas Tuchel’s European champions seven days ago and were looking for opportunities to counter.

They edged ahead a minute before the break following a short period of pressure.

After Arsenal only partially cleared a James Ward-Prowse corner, Romain Perraud recycled the ball and Mohamed Elyounoussi was alert to pull the ball back from the left, allowing Poland defender Bednarek to lash his fourth goal of the season into the roof of the net via the fingertips of Aaron Ramsdale.

The Gunners’ initial response to falling behind was hardly inspiring, prompting Arteta to turn to his bench.

Smith Rowe and Nicolas Pepe were both introduced and the former almost grabbed a 73rd-minute leveller.

A loose ball in Saints’ box bounced kindly for the creative midfielder but his scuffed effort into the ground allowed Forster sufficient time to scamper across his goal and claw the ball away.

Southampton were dropping deeper and deeper in a bid to protect their slender lead, leading to some tense moments.

Saka thumped a shot straight at Forster and Odegaard and Granit Xhaka also provided scares, but the Gunners could not find a leveller as a raucous response to the full-time whistle signalled further disruption to their European ambitions.

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Aaron Ramsdale admits Arsenal were “not good enough” as they slipped to defeat at home to Brighton.

Enock Mwepu was the star of the show for the visitors, creating Leandro Trossard’s opener before his own fine strike doubled the lead. Martin Odegaard’s late consolation meant Brighton left with a deserved 2-1 win.

Arsenal were already reeling from defeat at Crystal Palace on Monday night and, with Kieran Tierney and Thomas Partey missing through injury, their small squad was exposed once more.

Gabriel Martinelli had a goal ruled out for offside but other than that Arsenal rarely threatened and they lost more ground in their hopes of returning to Champions League action.

Rivals Tottenham cantered to victory later on Saturday to move three points clear in fourth place with Ramsdale now targeting a return to form at Southampton next week.

“This was supposed to be the reaction game but it wasn’t,” he told Arsenal’s official website.

“We’ve lost and not managed to pick up any points and next week is even bigger.

“I think we just need to go out there and be free and play our game, you know?

“It’s a game of football and I think in the first half we were very tense and slow so we just need to go out there next week, trust what the manager and the coaching staff are saying and go and play our football, which we’ve done all season.

“It’s not good enough. Two games on the spin where the first 45 minutes has got away from us.

“You make it an uphill battle against any team in the Premier League if you’re losing at half-time.”

The victory was just a third league win of the calendar year for Brighton.

The Seagulls ended a run of six losses with a home draw to Norwich before taking all three points from the Emirates Stadium.

“I am so glad, we needed the three points after six loses and a draw,” said Mwepu.

“I think we have shown that we have the right mentality in the group to come to places like Arsenal and play like we did.

“We just want to continue in the final games like this, play well and win for the coach, who has shown a lot of confidence in us.

“We had a little joke in the dressing room before the game that I was going to score. I was delighted to take the chance, I hit it really well and it was wonderful to see it go into the net.”

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Crystal Palace blew Arsenal away with a comprehensive 3-0 Premier League victory at Selhurst Park to dent the visitors’ top-four hopes and continue their own momentum under boss Patrick Vieira.

Results over the weekend had seen the Gunners leapfrogged by rivals Tottenham in the race for Champions League qualification and they were unable to respond on a night to forget for Mikel Arteta’s men.

Jean-Philippe Mateta and Jordan Ayew put the Eagles in control after 24 minutes and Wilfried Zaha’s second-half penalty added deserved gloss to the score for the hosts, who extended their unbeaten run to seven matches in all competitions and moved up to ninth in the table.

Arsenal had dropped down to fifth after Spurs’ win over Newcastle on Sunday, but they were boosted by the return of Aaron Ramsdale in south London following a minor hip injury.

Conor Gallagher’s pressing nearly forced the Gunners goalkeeper into an early mistake before Gabriel let the ball roll out for a throw, which only further lifted a home crowd on a high with a trip to Wembley on the horizon.

Palace had held Manchester City to a goalless draw three weeks ago and they made life difficult for the away side in the opening exchanges.

Chances remained few and far between initially but the deadlock was broken with the first threatening attack after 16 minutes.

A deep free-kick by Gallagher found Joachim Andersen at the far post, who directed the ball across goal for Mateta to head in from close range for his sixth goal of the campaign.

The home supporters were still revelling in Mateta’s latest kick of the corner flag celebration when they were on their feet again eight minutes later.

Andersen produced a trademark crossfield pass from the back and Ayew was able to control the ball before he bent his shot around Ramsdale and into the bottom corner with aplomb.

It was a well-worked goal but Gabriel, who had looked nervy from the outset, made an error in trying and failing to intercept Andersen’s pass while Nuno Tavares – recalled due to Kieran Tierney’s injury – lost Ayew too easily.

The same duo had been guilty of not dealing with Gallagher’s free-kick for the opener and opportunities continued to come regularly for the hosts with Mateta denied by Ramsdale after good work by Jeffrey Schlupp and Zaha.

A late Gabriel header, which was easy for Vicente Guaita, was all Arsenal had to show for a below-par first 45 minutes and Arteta had seen enough with Gabriel Martinelli introduced in place of Tavares at the break.

Granit Xhaka went to left-back as a result and, while Bukayo Saka had a hopeful penalty appeal waved away at the beginning of the half, it was Palace who remained the most dangerous.

Arsenal did improve after the hour mark and Emile Smith Rowe should have done better when the ball dropped for him but his eight-yard effort was weak and down Guaita’s throat.

Martin Odegaard had an equally fine chance with 23 minutes left after being set up by one of substitute Eddie Nketiah’s first touches and yet the Norway international could only steer his shot wide.

Palace were in a crucial period now but Zaha, who had wanted to join Arsenal in the summer of 2019, put the game to bed in the 74th minute.

After he won the ball by the halfway line, the Ivory Coast attacker dribbled past Gabriel and ran at Ben White before Odegaard clipped his ankle in the area.

Referee Paul Tierney took a couple of seconds but pointed to the penalty spot and Zaha did the rest to fire home his 11th goal of the season.

There was still time for Marc Guehi – fresh from his England debut – to make a stunning block on the line to deny Smith Rowe before Nketiah curled an effort against the woodwork but it was Palace’s night with ex-Arsenal captain Vieira damaging his old club’s hopes of Champions League qualification.

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Liverpool struck twice in eight second-half minutes to win at Arsenal and move to within a point of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.

With City held to a goalless draw at Crystal Palace on Monday night, Liverpool took full advantage, winning their game in hand 2-0 as Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino scored the goals.

The pair have history against the Gunners – this was Jota’s seventh goal in as many appearances against Arsenal for Liverpool, while Firmino now has nine goals against them, his best return against a single opponent.

The meeting between City and Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium on April 10 will now go a huge way to deciding whether Pep Guardiola’s side will retain their crown or the Reds make it two titles in three years.

Arsenal remain favourites for a top-four finish despite losing here and they held their own until Jota broke the deadlock after 54 minutes.

Mikel Arteta conceded on the eve of the game that his team are not quite at the level of those at the top of the Premier League and being clinical in front of goal appears to be one of the contributing factors, if these 90 minutes were anything to go by.

Early Liverpool pressure saw Virgil Van Dijk force a low save out of Aaron Ramsdale with a free header from a corner.

With rain pouring down it was a blood and thunder contest but the first half was one of few chances, Gabriel Martinelli and Thomas Partey shining for the hosts.

Liverpool’s forwards were getting very little out of the Arsenal backline but Sadio Mane missed a presentable chance to open the scoring on the stroke of half-time.

He also had the ball in the net soon after the interval but the celebrations were cut short as he was correctly adjudged offside.

While Arsenal had created little, they had a short spell of dominance which should a yielded a better return, Alisson Becker making a fine save from Martin Odegaard after an errant Thiago Alcantara back-pass had been collected by Alexandre Lacazette.

Bukayo Saka forced Alisson into another save from the resulting corner, with Jurgen Klopp seeing enough to ready Mohamed Salah and Firmino.

Before they had a chance to enter the fray, however, Liverpool hit the front as Thiago’s slide-rule pass found Jota, who finished low past Ramsdale – the Arsenal goalkeeper no doubt disappointed to be beaten at his near post.

The two substitutions still took place, Jota one of those to be replaced immediately after breaking the deadlock, but Klopp’s decision was soon vindicated.

Firmino cut a ball across the box which ultimately saw Salah denied by a combination of Gabriel Magalhaes and Ben White but Liverpool kept the pressure on and Firmino’s smart finish from Andy Robertson’s cross doubled the lead.

Arsenal had no response to the double as Arteta introduced Emile Smith Rowe, Nicolas Pepe and Eddie Nketiah from the bench.

Martinelli nearly capped a fine personal display with a late goal but bent a shot just inches wide of Alisson’s post as Liverpool saw out the closing stages to move up on the shoulder of City.

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Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka scored second-half goals as Arsenal beat Brentford 2-1 and moved within one point of the top four.

The Gunners started quickly at Emirates Stadium, with Saka testing David Raya shortly before Alexandre Lacazette tapped in a Granit Xhaka cross, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside.

Smith Rowe eventually broke the deadlock with Arsenal’s 17th shot of the match, cutting in from the left and finding the bottom-right corner on 48 minutes.

Arsenal’s second goal came 11 minutes from time as Saka finished well off the far post.

Christian Norgaard got a goal back for Brentford in second-half stoppage time but it was too late to prevent Arsenal recording back-to-back victories.

The Gunners remain sixth but have at least two matches in hand on all of the teams above them.

Brentford stay 14th with 24 points, six points clear of the bottom three.

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Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has completed his move to Barcelona on a free transfer after terminating his contract with English Premier League club Arsenal, the LaLiga club said yesterday.

Barcelona said Aubameyang would sign a contract until June 2025, with an option to agree departure on June 30, 2023. The Catalan club set his release clause at 100 million euros.

“Shortly the club will provide details of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s presentation as a first team player,” Barcelona’s website said, while on Twitter the club posted “It’s Auba time!”.

Aubameyang joined Arsenal from German club Borussia Dortmund in 2018 as former manager Arsene Wenger’s last signing.

He immediately became a fan favourite and went on to score 92 goals in 163 games.

His crowning moment was captaining Arsenal to their 14th FA Cup in 2020, scoring both goals in a 2-1 win over Chelsea, having scored a brace against Manchester City in the semi-final.

The 32-year-old striker was made permanent captain last season after signing a contract extension in 2020, but his Arsenal career began to turn sour and he left by mutual consent on Tuesday with 18 months remaining on his contract.

Despite being Arsenal’s highest earner, he has not played for the north London club since December after manager Mikel Arteta stripped him of the captaincy due to a disciplinary breach.

Aubameyang was also sent home early from the Africa Cup of Nations after the Gabonese Football Federation said cardiac lesions were found in tests conducted in Cameroon following a positive Covid-19 test.

His signing follows the arrival of winger Adama Traore on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers as Barcelona look to rebuild after the departure of Lionel Messi to Paris St Germain.

In a quest to strengthen their attacking options, Barcelona also signed Spanish forward Ferran Torres from Manchester City in the transfer window.

The club has also tried to offload French winger Ousmane Dembele, who has not played since their Super Cup defeat by Real Madrid earlier this month.

Barcelona are fifth in the LaLiga standings, 15 points behind leaders and rivals Real Madrid.

They are at home to Atletico Madrid this weekend.

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Arsenal defender Pablo Mari has joined Udinese on loan for the rest of the season.

Spanish centre-half Mari, 28, has made just three appearances in all competitions for the Gunners this season and 22 in total.

Udinese said on their official website: “The Spanish defender arrives on loan from Arsenal until the end of the sporting season.

“A player who combines physical strength with technical qualities and great skill in aerial play, all precious characteristics that have brought him to the top European stages.”

Mari, who started out at Mallorca, was signed by Manchester City in 2016 and loaned out immediately to Girona. He has also had loan spells at NEC Breda and Deportivo La Coruna.

He joined Brazilian side Flamengo in a permanent deal in July 2019 before arriving at Arsenal, initially on loan, the following January and the Gunners paid a reported £7million to make the move permanent in July 2020.