In Brief

Arsenal fans angered by another loss but Arsene Wenger won’t quit

Gunners’s ‘ugly’ defeat at Brighton is their fourth in a row

There was more agony for Arsenal yesterday when the Gunners suffered their fourth straight defeat in losing 2-1 to Brighton.

It was what they deserved for another dreadful display in which the visitors conceded two early goals at the Amex through disastrous defending. “Passive” was the word Arsene Wenger used. Try pathetic instead. Petr Cech was at fault for both goals, as were his defenders, who lacked the desire and aggression of a Brighton team who before the game had never beaten one of the Premier League’s Big Six.

How much longer Arsenal will rank among that exclusive cartel remains to be seen. Eight points behind Chelsea, the Gunners are now 13 points adrift of Tottenham, who currently occupy the last of the four Champions League spots.

Asked if he believed Arsenal could catch their north London rivals, Wenger replied: “It is very difficult, nearly impossible now, 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.”

The statistics of Arsenal’s unprecedented slump are shocking. This year they’ve won just four of their 14 matches and they’ve been beaten in five of their last seven Premier League matches.

Burnley, whose form hasn’t exactly been electric this year, are now only five points behind the Gunners and there’s the very real possibility that Arsenal will miss out even on the Europa League next season.

Of course, they could still make it into next season’s Champions League, but that would require them to beat AC Milan in the Europa League, starting with the first leg in Italy on Thursday. Only the most optimistic Arsenal fan – that rare breed who still parrot the redundant refrain ‘In Arsene We Trust’ – seriously believes their boys have the backbone to beat the Italian outfit.

The more likely scenario is that Arsenal will continue their slide until someone in the boardroom has the guts and the gumption to finally put Wenger out of his misery.

Pundits tore into the Frenchman on Twitter after Sunday’s defeat to the Seagulls, with Rio Ferdinand declaring that “Wenger going on for too long feels like my last year playing at QPR”, and Gary Lineker suggesting that “if I were Arsene Wenger, I might consider firing Arsene Wenger”. Former Gunner Ray Parlour simply said: “My God this is hard to watch.”

Brighton fans, on the other hand, were delighted to watch their team climb further away from the relegation zone thanks to goals from Lewis Dunk and Glenn Murray.

Dunk struck on seven minutes, volleying home after Cech failed to deal with a corner, and Murray headed the second on 25 minutes after a pinpoint cross from Pascal Gross.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang got one back from the Gunners late in the first-half. The visitors also rattled a Brighton post before the break, but they created few clear-cut chances in the second period despite dominating possession.

“The fact we got the two goals early gave us that buffer that we could hang onto but over the 90 minutes I felt we were very worthy winners,” said Brighton manager Chris Hughton, savouring his club’s first win over Arsenal since 1982.

“Our intent at the beginning of the game was very good. No complaints with that first half except the goal we conceded before half time. And then we showed the other side of our game – the ugly side – and you need that.”

All of Arsenal’s game is ugly right now – this is the first time they have lost four on the trot since 2002 – and for a growing number of Gooners only the removal of Wenger will bring back their beautiful game.

Judging by his post-match comments, however, the Arsenal manager has no intention of resigning, telling reporters: “I have enough experience and desire to turn things around.”

This weekend’s Premier League results

  • Burnley 2 Everton 1 
  • Leicester City 1 AFC Bournemouth 1 
  • Southampton 0 Stoke City 0 
  • Swansea City 4 West Ham United 1 
  • Tottenham Hotspur 2 Huddersfield Town 0 
  • Watford 1 West Bromwich Albion 0 
  • Liverpool 2 Newcastle United 0 
  • Brighton & Hove Albion 2 Arsenal 1 
  • Manchester City 1 Chelsea 0

Tonight’s Premier League fixture

  • Crystal Palace vs. Manchester United (8pm)

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