Arsenal Lose 2-1 to Brighton & Hove, Remain Winless Under Freddie Ljungberg

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistDecember 5, 2019

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 05: Neal Maupay of Brighton and Hove Albion celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 1-2 during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Brighton & Hove Albion at Emirates Stadium on December 5, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Arsenal remain winless under interim manager Freddie Ljungberg, slumping to a 2-1 loss against Brighton & Hove Albion on Thursday.

Adam Webster gave the visitors a shock but deserved lead after 36 minutes, the result of utter dominance from the Seagulls. Alexandre Lacazette equalised early in the second half, and David Luiz had a goal correctly ruled out by the video assistant.

The intensity of the contest dropped as the second half wore on, but with 10 minutes left to play, Neal Maupay found the decisive goal to secure a massive win for the visitors.Β 

Ljungberg guided the side to a 2-2 draw against Norwich City in their first match after the sacking of Unai Emery.

The loss means the Gunners are now on a historically poor run, their worst in over 40 years:

Gracenote Live @GracenoteLive

πŸ˜₯ - Arsenal (W0-D6-L3) are winless in nine consecutive competitive matches for the first time since a run of 10 from February to March 1977. #ARSBHA

A mix-up between Luiz and goalkeeper Bernd Leno nearly gave the visitors a shock lead in the opening minutes, setting the stage for a dreadful half from the Gunners.

Luiz was the first man to test either goalkeeper, but Brighton took control of possession and nearly had a penalty after 20 minutes, with the video assistant spotting the ball just outside the box after Hector Bellerin's foul.

Maupay only narrowly missed the target with a dangerous shot, and Leno saved a tricky Webster header. He also had to make saves on Maupay and Davy Propper in quick succession, with the Seagulls increasing the pressure as the half wore on.

Brighton took a deserved lead after 36 minutes, with centre-back Webster capitalising on a loose ball inside the box. It continued a disturbing pattern for the hosts:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Arsenal have now conceded the opening goal in each of their last four Premier League games: vs. Leicester vs. Southampton vs. Norwich vs. Brighton The Seagulls take a deserved lead at the Emirates. 🏟 https://t.co/clxDJZpnGr

And rather than sit back and defend their lead until half-time, Brighton kept coming. Leno had to race off his line to deny Aaron Connolly, who only just lacked the pace to get to a through ball first.

Mat Ryan made a save with his legs to deny Joe Willock, and Lacazette tried to win a late penalty with a terrible dive that perhaps should have been punished.

At half-time, the fans were far from happy, per theΒ Mirror's John Cross:

John Cross @johncrossmirror

Arsenal booed off https://t.co/GZADEXvWfl

Ljungberg introduced Nicolas Pepe at the start of the second half, and the Gunners came out with far more intensity. It led to a couple of dangerous runs down the wing early, and a goal for Lacazette just five minutes into the half.

Mesut Ozil's corner fell invitingly for the Frenchman, who did the rest with a smart touch. He seems to thrive in the confines of the Emirates Stadium:

Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto

⚽️ 13 of Alexandre Lacazette's last 14 PL goals, since the start of Nov 2018, have been scored at home https://t.co/NLOfMENch5

The Gunners continued to push forward, leading to a wide-open match where both teams took risks. Luiz thought he had given his team the lead after 65 minutes, but VAR correctly spotted he was offside prior to blasting the ball past Ryan.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang perhaps should have scored after some good work from Pepe, but his effort deflected behind for a corner.Β 

The intensity of the contest dropped as the second half wore on, with a multitude of substitutions only making matters worse. But with 10 minutes left to play, Maupay got away from his man to turn home a cross from Aaron Mooy, giving Leno no chance.

Substitute Gabriel Martinelli tested Ryan with a good effort after a cross from Kieran Tierney, and Pepe fired a free-kick wide. Leandro Trossard had a chance to double the lead, missing wildly after a great counter, but the Gunners would not create another chance in stoppage time.

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What's Next?

The Gunners face West Ham United on Monday. Brighton host Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday.