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Brighton 2-1 Arsenal : Dismal Display Sees Arsenal Lose 4th in a Row

The atmosphere at Arsenal was as bad as it has been in some time coming into this game, and this performance will only have added to the woe surrounding the club, as Arsene Wenger’s side fell to a 2-1 defeat against Brighton.The Gunners fell to their eight defeat of the season on Sunday afternoon, and it was perhaps the hardest one of them all to take.The past few weeks have seen a derby loss at Wembley against Tottenham, a home loss to Swedish minnows Ostersund, a cup and league humiliation by Manchester City, and now this loss at the Amex Stadium.Arsenal actually started the game well, as was the case with Manchester City on Thursday, but also mirroring Thursday’s game was the ineptness following the scoring being opened.The first goal came from a Pascal Gross corner, finding its way to defender Shane Duffy, who leaped above all in the Arsenal penalty area, and made the ball find its way to fellow centre back Lewis Dunk. The Brighton captain volleyed the ball into the net from close range finding the net for the fifth time this season – but only the first time in the opposition’s goals.With only seven minutes played, the chance of a clean sheet had dispensed. This is the 11th game in a row Petr Cech has not managed to keep the goals out - the longest run of games for Arsenal since 2002 – so his wait to gain the record for most ever in the league lingers on.Also dispensed following the goal was any momentum Arsenal had made up at the start of the game. The home support were bellowing “you’re getting sacked in the morning” at Wenger, and his players were not helping his cause.Brighton began playing with excellent precision, Chris Hughton’s side looking very good value for their lead. It looked like a second was coming as opposed to an equalizer, and that is exactly what happened.The second goal was a defensive shambles. Laurent Koscielny gave away the ball with ease, which allowed Brighton to power on to the right of the field. Davy Propper fed the ball to Anthony Knockaert, who then did the same for Gross, who once more made a fine delivery in the direction of Glenn Murray (who Shkrodan Mustafi gave acres of space), with the veteran striker laying a downward header into the Arsenal goal past a poor attempt at saving by Cech.Following the second goal, the home fans began singing “Arsesne Wenger, we want you to stay!” in sarcastic ecstasy; in sharp contrast to how the supporters who had travelled to support Arsenal were feeling.The onslaught from Brighton lasted a full half hour, with little respite for a poor Arsenal side. Coming towards the end of the half though, Arsenal began to improve a little bit, as the home side quieted down.In Arsenal’s best period of the game, Alex Iwobi passed to Granit Xhaka within the Brighton penalty area, who made the decision not to shoot and then instead played a short pass to Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, who flicked the ball sweetly past Mathew Ryan in the Brighton goal to give Wenger’s side some optimism going in at half time.The game was set up for Arsenal to mount a comeback or perhaps even win in the second 45, but it didn’t work out that way. Brighton held firm defensively, but with 15 minutes gone, Arsenal hadn’t offered much.On the hour though, there was a glimmer of hope – Mesut Ozil, who wasn’t up to much today, squared a ball across the box towards Aubameyang, but the pacy striker couldn’t do enough to put the ball towards the goal or back into the danger area.There were the kind of scenes that no one wants to see when Sead Kolasinac barged into Ezequiel Schelotto, knocking the former Sporting Lisbon man unconscious for a short while. Thankfully the wide man was able to walk off the pitch and was in better spirits shortly afterwards, and Arsenal remained with 11 men despite Kolasinac already being on a yellow.What is perhaps most surprising about the last quarter an hour or so of the match is how little the Gunners offered going forward – it continued to look like Hughton’s side were the likeliest to score, even in the seven minutes of added time that arose from Schelotto’s time on the deck. Full time, and a very disappointing result.Aaron Ramsey was rested for the match, with Wenger noting that he wanted to give the Welsh midfielder a rest before the match. Also rested for the Gunners was Hector Bellerin, who missed his first league minutes of the season when not selected to start today, not coming on until the 82nd minute.Brighton deserve complete credit for their win – they were excellent. That is not to take away from the disgraceful display from Arsenal, with the atmosphere at the club as bad as it has been in a very long time. The North London club remain in sixth, and it is looking like that is where they will remain for the remainder of the season, with a bridge opening between both teams in front of them and sides behind them.Wenger had one of his worst weeks of criticism ever following the City losses, but at least then there was the crutch of losing to perhaps the best team in Europe to argue back with. That does not apply to this match – the Frenchman’s future will be seriously questioned over the next few days.The one remaining sliver of hope in Arsenal’s season is the Europa League, with Arsenal travelling to the San Siro on Thursday, but one fears the worst for that game following this performance – if Arsenal play like they did against Brighton, they don’t stand a chance against an in-form Milan side.