Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does.

This 2-1 defeat wasn’t a dead rubber in a European game. It wasn’t against world class opposition either. It was a crucial game against a side who we should expect to beat, but found to our cost that they wanted the victory more than us - and that is unforgivable.

Chris Hughton did a marvellous job of instilling hunger in his side, as they saw out a 2-1 win that takes them into the top half of the table and goes a long way to securing Premier League football next season.

What about us though?

We had hundreds of millions of pounds of talent in our eleven, yet when it came to delivering when we needed it most, they were found wanting. Mesut Ozil has shown on numerous occasions what he is capable of, but was found wanting. Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were stifled by the likes of Dale Stephens, Gaetan Bong and Lewis Dunk.

The less said about or defence and Granit Xhaka, the better, but our slump coincides with theirs.

Our backline is woefully ill-equipped to deal with the rigours of Premier League football, or at least the way they’re set up makes it appear so. Brighton could have had four or five, and they took the lead after just seven minutes.

Petr Cech was beaten as he came to claim a corner, and Shane Duffy headed down for Lewis Dunk to fire home. Brighton showed brighter reactions and more physicality than our men, and their lead was deserved.

The home side’s high press was squeezing out mistakes in possession from our boys, and Cech soon redeemed himself by saving well from Knockaert, as Brighton wanted another.

Shane Duffy came close to doubling the gull’s lead, but headed over. The space afforded to him was far more alarming however, and it would be this that would see them grab a second.

Koscielny was the villain this time, as his sloppy play gave the ball to Pascal Gross, and his ball found a lurking Glenn Murray, who got into space away from a dozy Mustafi to head home for his 11th of the season.

Calamitous. Dire. Take your pick, but it was far from good enough yet again.

After the last two weeks, our players should’ve been putting their bodies on the line, but Brighton had been making all the running, and creating all the chances.

An alarming stat for you all - we haven’t come back to win a game from two goals down since 2008. The omens were not looking good.

It took being two goals down torouse us from our reverie, which is unforgivable. We started to test Matt Ryan in the Brighton goal, but it wasn’t enough.

Just before going in for half time two goals down to Brighton, we grabbed a lifeline, ill-deserved though it was. Iwobi grabbed possession and found Xhaka, who in turn found Aubameyang who finished well. It could’ve ended even better, but Koscielny hit the post from a corner.

Half time, and we were losing, what a familiar story. The goal though, gave us at least something to latch onto.

Brighton had been excellent, but we were gaining more possession than we did in the first half. We couldn’t craft too many chances though, as Brighton were defending wilfully and our creative players looked well short of ideas.

Tetchy tackles from both sets of players were flying in, and Sead Kolasinac was lucky to avoid a red card when his blatant shoulder barge when already on a yellow was shown leniency by Stuart Atwell.

We were probing, but Matt Ryan had only a few regulation saves to make, mostly from distance. Aubameyang did get close from an Ozil ball, but his connection was scuffed and the chance fell away.

Time was ticking away and Jose Izquierdo was being given acres of space, something that is criminal by our defence.


Wenger decided then, with only fifteen minutes to play, that he would shake things up, with Danny Welbeck - preserved for Thursday’s tie against Milan with Aubameyang cup-tied - coming on for Iwobi.

Nothing changed as we huffed and puffed and looked a million miles away from the football we used to be associated with. Seven minutes to go and Wenger went for the double change - Chambers and Mkhitaryan were off, replaced by Bellerin and young Eddie Nketiah.

Brighton weren’t finished and almost scored a third if it wasn’t for the linesman’s flag. This was simply embarrassing, but we’ve been here far too many times before.

There were seven minutes of extra time, could we snatch a draw?

I’ll cut this short by saying no.

Yet again, we fell to a loss, our eighth already in 2018. We’re awful. Our attack has what it takes, but low confidence is sapping their strength. What is hindering us is a non-existent base in midfield and a defence that has literally no clue how to defend even the most basic of attacks and tactics.

We also have a manager that is too stubborn to realise he is now a hindrance to the club he helped to grow into what it is today.

An outfit that is falling well below the grand expectations we have.

It really is time to go Arsene.