The Arsenal players found themselves dealing with pressure they hadn’t felt in recent weeks, but a disappointing 3-0 defeat away at Crystal Palace on Monday meant that the clash against Brighton was a must-win for the Gunners. Thomas Partey and Kieran Tierney were both unavailable due to injury, meaning Sambi Lokonga started in midfield while Mikel Arteta decided to opt for Granit Xhaka at left-back.
Despite having plenty of attacking threat with Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli all starting, Brighton made it difficult for a breakthrough to be found. As the frustration around the Emirates started to settle in, it was the Seagulls who took the lead half an hour in through Leandro Trossard.
Hope was initially restored for Arsenal after Martinelli headed the ball in from close range just before half-time, but following a VAR check which seemed to take forever to reach a conclusion, the goal was overturned.
Fans demanded changes at half-time, with the majority wanting to see Alexandre Lacazette make way for Nuno Tavares, but Arteta decided to keep things as they were. Eddie Nketiah replaced Emile Smith Rowe in the 62nd minute, but improvements were rarely seen and the Gunners failed to create any clear cut chances.
Brighton got their second with 67 minutes on the clock via a lovely finish from Enock Mwepu, who was the star of the show for Graham Potter’s side. Despite Martin Odegaard getting one back, it was unfortunately too little too late. It’s now two consecutive defeats for Arsenal, meaning their top-four hopes continue to take a significant blow.
North London rivals Tottenham will look to take advantage and go three points clear above them when they take on Aston Villa this evening. This has been a week to forget for the Arsenal faithful, who understandably made their feelings known on social media after the full-time whistle.
@Wilshoholic: Embarrassing. Absolutely embarrassing.
@bradjrr: Ruined my weekend, thanks.
@Gooner87: Back to reality. This team isn’t ready for Europe. Not having a quality CF costs us BIG TIME. Drop Laca and start Pepe for the remaining matches.
@ogg_96: Arteta and edu failed to convert a massive chance for this club in January, not factoring in any injuries to our key players is going to cost us dearly, hanging top 4 on blind hope is going to be a horrendous decision and lots of us said this during the window, can’t believe it.
@Roebbn: Europa League it is. Still a few games left but with our injuries I think it’s safe to assume it’s EL for us next season.
@ABTNews_AFC: Eddie Nketiah and Nicolas Pepe did more in few minutes than Alexandre Lacazette who played the whole game. I never want to see Lacazette start games again.
@NBlaskett: It is what it is, considering we have the youngest team in the league, key injuries to an already small squad it’s been a decent effort but a step too far. May as well give the likes of Nketieh and Lokonga a run to the end of the season.