Arsenal have been handed a blessing in disguise as Mikel Arteta and Edu plan for summer business

And there you have it.

A season full of struggle, pain and disappointment, yet the atmosphere among the 10,000 Arsenal fans within the Emirates Stadium portrayed a different feeling.

Indeed, it has a been a long, hard stretch to get to this point and we certainly cannot forget those who have lost their lives over the past year, with the Gunners displaying a poignant tribute to those supporters who sadly passed away this season.

The togetherness and fighting spirit that has been missing throughout much of Arsenal’s season was shown in the stands on Sunday afternoon, as anti-Tottenham chants could be heard amid a long overdue roar of celebration after Nicolas Pepe’s impressive brace.

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On the pitch, Arsenal showed those fans inside the stadium what they should be able to look forward to next season. Despite all the talk about his price tag, Pepe has delivered this season and will be hoping to impress even further going into the new campaign.

He has scored nine goals in his last 13 Premier League starts and has more goal involvements in all competitions this season than any other Arsenal player (21).

There are also the promising young players in the team who continue to be the beacon of light in Mikel Arteta’s armoury right now. Kieran Tierney, Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli are all part of those long-term plans and it’s vital that the Spaniard keeps them together for the next few years.

It must be said that Arsenal’s run of 25 consecutive seasons in Europe has come to an end. In a season where the club have finished only six points behind the Champions League places, it can be argued that it shouldn’t have reached a point where Arsenal were fighting for Europe on the final day once again.

Perhaps the biggest positive of the day is Arsenal narrowly missing out on qualifying for the European Conference League. The revenue impact is minimal and it’s likely that the club will receive more in transfer fees this summer than they will make from the third tier competition.

It would have meant more games, more travelling and more headaches. Instead, Arteta’s side can fully focus on domestic trophies such as the FA Cup, Carabao Cup and make a real push in the Premier League without the added worry of European distractions.

“I’m sad because this club deserves to be delivered trophies and the Champions League,” said the Arsenal manager after the game.

“We haven’t managed that. It’s very challenging circumstances but we’ve tried to stick together and do our best. It’s not been enough. We have to be very critical of ourselves, of myself, and then prepare the best possible way for next season to take advantage of that.

“Hopefully we can have the pre-season that I haven’t had, and have time to work with those players and try to be a better team.”

What will be a blessing in disguise for Arsenal could end up being a curse for their north London rivals Tottenham. Regardless of what happens next season, the Gunners can look forward with optimism but it all depends on what business gets done this summer.

Plans have been made, agents have been contacted and there can be no doubt that technical director Edu alongside new head of football operations Richard Garlick, will do everything to bring the best players to the club this summer.

For now, it’s time to recuperate and reflect on what has been arguably the strangest season in the history of Premier League football – and one which is probably worth forgetting.

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