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Arsenal hit rock bottom at the Amex

Patrick Power by Patrick Power @rfutbol - 0 6,037

Pin Dunk scored the opener. AFP
Dunk scored the opener. AFP

Arsenal hit rock bottom at the Amex

Patrick Power by Patrick Power @rfutbol - 0 6,037

The Gunners travelled to the Amex Stadium wounded and in need of an uplifting victory, but Brighton clinched a huge win to move to the top half of the Premier League table.

A sight Arsenal fans have become accustomed to in recent times. Having started the game confidently on the ball, the Gunners conceded the opener early on to make it 11 consecutive Premier League games without a clean sheet. With scrutiny over Arsene Wenger’s future increasing, they travelled south to Brighton having lost four of their past six Premier League games. But things can always get worse.

The expected calamitous defending from the visitors was well and truly on display in the opening half-hour, with their work on the ball nothing amusing either. Slow and predictable passing did nothing to trouble Brighton, who looked threatening, mainly on the counter and from set-pieces.

After seven minutes, Lewis Dunk had the ball in the back of the net. The left-wing corner was swung high towards the far post for Shane Duffy to head back for his central-defensive partner, and Dunk had no problems converting from close range for his first goal in over a year.

Following the goal, a brief spell of possession from Arsene Wenger's men looked more like a futile attempt to quieten the crowd, who went into full voice after another gift from the Arsenal defence allowed the Seagulls to double their lead. Laurent Koscielny gave possession away and the ball was then worked to Pascal Gross on the right wing. The midfielder's inch-perfect cross was headed down by Glenn Murray at the far post, with Mustafi nowhere near the striker. Cech really should have done better with that header, somehow allowing the ball to squirm under his body as Murray scored for the eighth time in his last 10 games.

It was a justified second goal that had been coming after several wasted chances from the hosts. Arsenal, meanwhile, remained unresponsive. Chris Hughton's side continued their dominance until, completely against the run of play, Arsenal got a goal back. Alex Iwobi did well in the box to feed the ball back to Granit Xhaka, who rolled the ball to the unmarked Aubameyang six yards out. The striker has no problems flicking the ball into the back of the net, to score his second goal for the club.

The goal breathed life into Arsenal who could have ended the pulsating first half level had Koscielny's injury-time header not smacked the post after a deflection off Duffy.

- No breaking down the Seagulls -

Brighton looked to hold onto their deserved lead after the break with Arsenal keeping the ball in the hope of recovering the two-goal deficit. Brighton goalkeeper Matt Ryan was tested first by a low strike from Mkhitaryan and then by a fizzing shot from Mesut Ozil 25 yards out. Aubameyang also tried his luck by rounding the stopper and crossing, but the Australian intercepted smartly.

The Gunners pinned Brighton inside their defensive third, but the centre-backs remained firm with everything that was thrown at them. Izquierdo looked menacing on the break, setting up Murray to put the ball in the net. The winger was rightfully flagged offside in the lead-up to the striker scoring. 

Seven minutes of stoppage time gave way to a nervy finale for the home supporters, who were sitting on the edge of their seats throughout much of the second half and were sent into delirium at the final whistle. 

A team seemingly lacking in confidence and mental strength, Arsenal look most likely to miss out on a Champions League spot for next season after suffering a fourth straight away defeat in the Premier League for just the second time ever.

Patrick Power

Patrick Power

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