With Manchester City hammering Everton 3-0 earlier on Sunday, strengthening their grip at the top of the Premier League table, Arsenal knew that they simply had to beat Brighton & Hove Albion at the Emirates to stand any chance of keeping pace with Pep Guardiola’s defending champions.
Unfortunately for the Arsenal faithful, their title charge looks to have ended with a whimper after falling to a 3-0 defeat against the Seagulls.
The defeat means that they are now four points behind Man City with two more games for the Gunners to go. However, the Cityzens have a game in hand meaning that they could all but wrap up their defence with just two more points given their far superior goal difference.
City have Chelsea, Brighton and Brentford to contend with now, while Arsenal will need maximum points and a whole heap of luck against Nottingham Forest and Wolverhampton Wanderers if they want to pick up a first top flight title since 2003/04.
Chances in the first-half were scarce for both sides. Former Seagull Leandro Trossard, who replaced Gabriel Martinelli early on following a knock to the Brazilian, came closest for the Gunners when he was played in by Granit Xhaka. Kieran Tierney’s overlap gave the forward time to cut inside but his shot could only clip the woodwork.
For the visitors, Julio Enciso had a similar chance to Trossard when Kaoru Mitoma lost Ben White and cut the ball back for the Paraguayan in the box, but he ultimately fired over.
Brighton had won three of their last four away games against Arsenal in all competitions before today, and they put themselves in a good position to extend that run when Enciso broke the deadlock for the visitors in the 51st minute after some superb work from Mitoma.
The Japanese international found Pervis Estupinan inside the box whose first cross was headed back to him, but his follow up knock was sent across the face of the goal for Enciso to head in.
Enciso heads it in for the visitors 👌
Brighton made it 2-0 courtesy of Denis Undav in the 86th minute. Aaron Ramsdale played the ball to Trossard who tried to flick the ball past Pascal Gross but it instead deflected off the midfielder and fell into the path of the German who lifted the ball over the Arsenal keeper.
Roberto De Zerbi’s men wrapped up the win and all but put the final nail in Arsenal’s title bid in stoppage time with Estupinan notching a third for the away side. Undav and former Gunner Danny Welbeck combined well and Ramsdale could only push the former’s shot away as far as Estupinan, who scored on the rebound.
The victory helped Brighton, now on 58 points, leapfrog over Tottenham Hotspur (57) into sixth. The Seagulls have played two less games than Spurs and are firmly in the drivers’ seat for a spot in next season’s Europa League. For Arsenal, it looks like a sensational season will probably end on a damp squib.
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