Brighton 2-1 Arsenal: Lewis Dunk and Glenn Murray pile pressure on Arsene Wenger
By Stephen Mills
Last Updated: 04/03/18 4:54pm
A miserable week for Arsene Wenger ended with a third straight loss as Arsenal slumped to a 2-1 defeat at Brighton on Super Sunday.
The future of the Arsenal manager has been under scrutiny after 3-0 defeats to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final last Sunday and in the Premier League on Thursday night, and first-half goals from Lewis Dunk (7) and Glenn Murray (26) prompted more discontent among the away supporters at the Amex Stadium.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's 42nd-minute goal gave Wenger some hope after a woeful first-half performance, but his players were unable to find an equaliser and avoid a fourth straight away defeat in the Premier League.
The loss leaves Arsenal in sixth place and 13 points behind Tottenham in fourth, while Brighton climb into the top half of the table.
Brighton: Ryan (7), Bong (6), Dunk (8), Duffy (8), Schelotto (7), Knockaert (7), Stephens (8), Propper (6), Izquierdo (8), Gross (8), Murray (8)
Subs: Bruno (6), March (6), Kayal (n/a)
Arsenal: Cech (5), Chambers (5), Koscielny (4), Mustafi (5), Kolasinac (5), Ozil (6), Wilshere (6), Xhaka (6), Iwobi (5), Mkhitaryan (5), Aubameyang (7)
Subs: Welbeck (6), Bellerin (n/a), Nketiah (n/a)
Man of the match: Glenn Murray (Brighton)
Arsenal were ragged and sloppy throughout the first half and fell behind in the seventh minute when Pascal Gross' corner was headed back across the six-yard box by Shane Duffy and - with Petr Cech out of position - Dunk responded quickest to stab home.
A deserved Brighton second duly arrived on 26 minutes when Laurent Koscielny conceded possession and the ball was worked to Gross on the right. His cross was met by Murray in the six-yard box and the ball squeezed beneath the body of Cech to prompt some 'Wenger out' chants in the away end.
But somehow Arsenal halved the deficit with a scruffy goal two minutes before the break. After Duffy had failed to clear, Alex Iwobi pulled the ball back to Granit Xhaka and his pass was smartly deflected beyond Mathew Ryan by the outside of Aubameyang's right foot.
Arsene Wenger made three changes from Thursday's defeat to Man City with Aaron Ramsey rested and Hector Bellerin and Danny Welbeck benched. Jack Wilshere, Calum Chambers and Alex Iwobi all started. Brighton were unchanged.
Incredibly, Arsenal were almost level on the stroke of half-time when Duffy thudded a header onto his own post and they also had the first major chance of the second period when Mesut Ozil's drive forced a save from Ryan.
Sead Kolasinac, who was booked in the first half, avoided further punishment for a match-ending barge on Ezequiel Schelotto and, moments later, Jose Izquierdo shot just wide after driving at the Arsenal defence.
The offside flag denied Brighton a third when Murray finished off a slick move late on, but his first-half header ultimately earned them a third straight home victory, while another insipid Arsenal display will prompt even more discussion over Wenger's position.
- Arsenal have lost four games in a row in all competitions for the first time since October 2002.
- This was Arsenal's first defeat in 35 Premier League games against newly-promoted sides.
- Arsenal haven't kept a clean sheet in their last 11 Premier League games; their joint-longest such run in the competition.
- Murray has scored six Premier League goals in 2018 - only Sergio Aguero (9) and Mo Salah (7) have scored more.
- Arsenal have just 13 points from their 15 away Premier League games this season - their worst such return in the top-flight since 1989/90 (12).
- Chris Hughton is only the third manager to beat Wenger in the Premier League with three different clubs (after Mark Hughes and Sam Allardyce).
Man of the Match - Glenn Murray
Six goals in six games… not bad for a 34-year-old! The Brighton striker's first-half strike was his 11th of the season in the Premier League, which is more than any Arsenal player has managed in this campaign. He was quick to praise his supply line at full-time, but Murray led the line superbly and, perhaps surprisingly, made more sprints than any other player on the pitch. Maybe those work-weary legs explain why he opted to hold the ball up rather than run at goal when played clean through in the closing stages.
Chris Hughton (Brighton): "For us it is massive. It is our first win against one of the top six. We found it difficult. We spoke before about how we had done really well against Manchester United, but that against everyone else we found it really difficult."
Arsene Wenger (Arsenal): "It's not easy, but I have enough experience and enough desire to turn things around and I must say that, at the moment, when you need to stay in the game we are making a few mistakes at the wrong moments. We have to stick together and focus. We have no other solution."
The Pundit - Graeme Souness
"That was a typical Arsenal performance. They had 68 per cent of the ball today, so between box to box they dominated the ball, they are on the front foot all the time.
"But in the two important areas, the box you defend in and the box you have to be brave and attack things, they came up short. That is Arsenal, pretty, pretty, pretty, but not very effective."
Brighton travel to Everton on Saturday, March 10. Meanwhile, Arsenal take on AC Milan in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie on Thursday night, before entertaining Watford at the Emirates on Sunday, March 11, a match you can see live on Sky Sports Premier League.