The Ivory Coast international scored twice to help the Gunners extend their unbeaten run at Selhurst Park
Nicolas Pepe bagged a brace as Arsenal secured a 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace in Wednesday’s Premier League game and set a personal record in the process.
The forward is gradually establishing himself at the Emirates Stadium after struggling on his arrival, with a section of the fans criticizing the £72 million paid to Lille to secure his signature last summer.
Pepe was handed his 15th league start at Selhurst Park and utilized the opportunity to increase his tally in the encounter.
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The Gunners hit the ground running and made several attempts on goal in the opening 20 minutes, including Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s fine shot which was blocked.
Ghana international Jeffrey Schlupp also came close to scoring moments after the hour mark when his shot was deflected towards goal but goalkeeper Vicente Guaita parried it for a corner.
Arsenal eventually broke the deadlock in the 35th minute when Pepe fired a fine volley into the back of the net after connecting with Kieran Tierney’s cross.
Christian Benteke levelled proceedings for Crystal Palace in the 62nd minute after receiving a timely assist from Andros Townsend.
Moments before the end of the game, Gabriel Martinelli handed Mikel Arteta’s men the lead when he tapped home from close range.
Pepe then completed his brace in style, dribbling past his markers before unleashing a shot into the back of the net to seal the victory for the Gunners.
The 25-year-old has now scored in back-to-back Premier League appearances for the first time since joining the Gunners, after also scoring against West Bromwich Albion.
Pepe featured for the duration of the game along with Gabon international Aubameyang and Egypt midfielder Mohamed Elneny.
For Crystal Palace, Ivory Coast’s Wilfried Zaha, Senegal’s Cheikhou Kouyate and Schlupp were on parade for the entirety of the game while Eberechi Eze was not listed for the encounter due to the Achilles injury he recently suffered.
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson will leave the club when his contract expires at the end of the season and Zaha along with the African stars at Palace will be expected to help the 73-year-old end his stay at Selhurst Park with victory against Liverpool on May 23.
Arsenal, meanwhile, will square off against Brighton & Hove Albion in their last Premier League game for 2020-21 season.