Arsenal ought to be one level behind Tottenham now with one recreation left, respiration closely down the again of their necks, prepared to use one ultimate stumble and steal that ultimate Champions League spot.
However they don’t seem to be.
This 1-1 draw with Brighton and Hove Albion is a horrible consequence for Unai Emery’s group, failing to use Spurs’ disastrous defeat at Bournemouth yesterday, solely making up one level fairly than three. Now Arsenal want a particularly unlikely mixture of outcomes to come back fourth: a giant win away at Burnley, whereas hoping that Spurs lose badly at house to Everton. Neither of these are doubtless.
So Arsenal’s prime 4 hopes are successfully over, and now Champions League soccer can solely be gained in Baku on the finish of the month. Given Spurs’ relegation type – 10 factors from their final 11 league video games – that represents a failure from this group to make up the hole. And this recreation summed up why they’re going to end fifth at greatest. They don’t create sufficient. They’re too reliant on their strikers. They don’t management video games, they usually make errors on the again.
When Arsenal took the lead it felt like they’d the sport precisely the place they needed it. That they had began the sport on the entrance foot, switching to an aggressive 4-4-2 and even then pushing the full-backs up. Towards Brighton you don’t want to depart too many males again.
So Aresnal attacked in numbers and it didn’t take lengthy for these numbers to inform. Nacho Monreal – in for Sead Kolasinac – broke into the field and received the incorrect aspect of Ali Jahanbakhsh. When the Iranian reached out to sort out, he received the ball and Monreal. In actual time it regarded like a penalty and so Anthony Taylor gave it, although replays confirmed it may need been extra complicated than that.
However Aubameyang tucked away his penalty kick and Arsenal had been away. That was his 20th Premier League aim of the season, the primary Arsenal participant to realize that landmark because the heyday of Alexis Sanchez. All the things good about Arsenal this season, their endurance on this race for fourth, their future within the Europa League, owes to Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette. And no-one else.
This was a recreation for the remainder of the Arsenal group to step up, to comply with in Aubameyang’s good work, and take the strain off the entrance two for a change. However it didn’t work out like that. As a substitute this felt extra like a showcase of the opposite points on this Arsenal group, those that even their two good strikers can not repair by themselves. Sokratis was implausibly booked for diving. Bernd Leno scuffed a easy kick out and almost arrange Glenn Murray. One Pascal Gross nook flew previous everybody, and simply past the far publish.
Arsenal wanted a second to place Brighton away however Mat Ryan received down nicely to Aubameyang’s effort from Mesut Ozil’s cross. One other Ryan save from Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s lengthy vary effort meant that the sport remained teetering at 1-Zero on the break, for all of Arsenal’s dominance.
And it value them. As a result of Brighton had been nonetheless alive and Arsenal had been by no means intelligent sufficient or strong sufficient to carry them off. Solly March was inflicting issues together with his ahead working, enjoying a pointy one-two with Glenn Murray and forcing one other Leno save.
And the following time to charged ahead, breaking down the left, he purchased the error that turned the sport. Granit Xhaka thought of fouling him, determined towards it, however couldn’t change his thoughts fast sufficient to get his fingers away.
Only one slight contact on the shoulder was sufficient for March to go down. Glenn Murray transformed the penalty.
Now Arsenal had been in a multitude of their very own making they usually couldn’t flip it round. Aubameyang volleyed vast from a Mkhitaryan cross.
Arsenal appealed desperately for 2 late penalties, however neither got. Their afternoon resulted in bitter frustration, seeing their prime 4 hopes collapse.