BRIGHTON, England: Arsenal completed a dreadful week by losing 2-1 at Brighton in the Premier League on Sunday to slip 13 points off the Champions League qualification positions and pile more pressure on manager Arsene Wenger.
After back-to-back 3-0 losses to Manchester City across two competitions, Arsenal stumbled again following two errors by goalkeeper Petr Cech on the south coast.
Cech was beaten to a high ball following a corner to the back post, and Lewis Dunk slotted the loose ball home from the edge of the six-yard box in the seventh minute.
Glenn Murray made it 2-0 in the 26th when his header from Pascal Gross’ pinpoint cross squirmed under the diving Cech.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang reduced the deficit for Arsenal by turning in Granit Xhaka’s drive across the face of goal in the 43rd, but the visitors couldn’t turn sustained pressure into an equalizer in the second half.
It was Arsenal’s fourth straight loss in all competitions — the first time that has happened since 2002 — and eighth in 14 matches in 2018.
Arsenal is in sixth place and destined for another year out of the Champions League, unless it can win the Europa League to earn a direct passage to Europe’s top competition.
“It is very difficult, nearly impossible now,” Wenger said of Arsenal’s top-four chances, “we are too far behind. We need two teams to collapse, not one. But, at the moment we have different worries in how to come back to winning a game.”
Arsenal lost to City in the League Cup final last Sunday and then in the Premier League on Thursday, placing Wenger under renewed scrutiny in his 22nd season in charge.
“We were passive, struggling for confidence and heavy-legged,” Wenger said, “but responded well in the second half. It is difficult to recover from what happened to us last week. We are going through a tough time.”
Brighton’s first win over Arsenal since 1982 lifted the team into 10th place, seven points above the relegation zone in its first season in the Premier League.
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