We learnt three things as Arsenal ended their chances of securing the Premier League title following their 3-0 defeat against Brighton at the Emirates Stadium last weekend. With Man City leading by four points, having played a game less, the title race is more or less over.
The visitors took the lead when Julio Enciso headed the ball into the net. Former Brighton player Leandro Trossard then made a costly mistake, allowing Deniz Undav to score the second goal for the away team. In stoppage time, Pervis Estupinan scored the third goal for Brighton after Aaron Ramsdale, the Arsenal goalkeeper, saved Undav’s long-range shot but couldn’t keep hold of the ball.
Roberto De Zerbi’s team secured a crucial victory that kept their pursuit of European qualification alive while also severely damaging Arsenal’s chances of overtaking Manchester City for the title. It will be disappointing for Arteta and his players that they were unable to keep the pressure on City until the final week of the season.
Despite some fans leaving early, those who stayed behind cheered their team, acknowledging their efforts but also realizing that the Premier League title won’t be returning to Arsenal for another year.
1. Arsenal’s Defensive Woes Continue At Home
Although Arsenal’s defense has performed well on the road this season, their inability to prevent goals at home has been a recurring problem. Julio Enciso’s goal for Brighton last weekend exemplifies this issue, as Arsenal have only managed to keep a clean sheet three times at the Emirates this season.
Their poor defensive performance was further underscored by the two additional goals they conceded. This kind of record is not acceptable for a team with aspirations of competing for the Premier League title. It’s important to recognize that the Gunners were outplayed for the majority of the match, and the visiting team’s victory was well-deserved.
2. Roberto De Zerbi Masterclass Against Mikel Arteta
The idea of playing out from the back might not have pleased football purists who watched the match between Arsenal and Brighton. Both goalkeepers, Aaron Ramsdale and Jason Steele, were committed to keeping the ball on the ground and making short passes to find a teammate, instead of resorting to long balls.
Both teams were instructed by their managers to adopt this style of play, but the Seagulls executed it better and more frequently. At half-time, De Zerbi’s side had 62% possession, which was the Gunners’ lowest home possession percentage this season. The possession-focused approach adopted by both teams created an engaging match that was a fascinating tactical battle between two of the league’s most exciting managers.
3. Injuries To Key Players Ruined The Title Charge For The Gunners
Arsenal’s recent defeat against the Seagulls revealed the significant impact of missing key players such as Gabriel Martinelli, William Saliba, and Oleksandr Zinchenko. It clearly stated the need for reinforcements in centre-back, central midfield, and left-back positions.
In the January transfer window, the Gunners made astute acquisitions in Jorginho and Leandro Trossard, even after failing to sign their primary targets. These signings have helped them remain competitive with Man City until recently. However, to maintain another title challenge next season and match City’s consistency, Mikel Arteta must add more quality and depth to his squad, particularly with Champions League football returning to Emirates Stadium after a six-year hiatus.
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Earlier in the day, Manchester City’s 3-0 win against Everton had already created pressure for the North London side. Brighton’s victory over the Gunners has almost guaranteed that Pepe Guardiola’s side will be crowned champions, despite the Seagulls having a game against them left.
Mikel Arteta’s side have been a strong team this season and have rarely been outperformed. Nevertheless, Brighton demonstrated more creativity and precision with their possession and deserved their 3-0 win over Arsenal.
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