The flickering embers of Arsenal’s Premier League title dream were all but extinguished as they suffered a 3-0 home defeat by Europe-chasing Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday.
With relentless Manchester City winning at Everton in the earlier kickoff to move four points clear, Arsenal knew only a victory would suffice to keep them in the hunt.
But they produced a laboured display against the crafty south coast club for whom Julio Enciso, Deniz Undav and Pervis Estupinan all scored after the break as Roberto De Zerbi’s side moved up to sixth place.
Arsenal’s former Brighton forward Leandro Trossard struck the crossbar in the first half, but Arsenal looked deflated after Enciso struck in the 51st minute and crestfallen when Undav lobbed over Aaron Ramsdale in the 86th minute.
Estupinan completed Arsenal’s misery in stoppage time.
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A fifth league defeat of the season left Arsenal on 81 points with two games remaining to City’s 85 with three left and victory for Pep Guardiola’s side next weekend against Chelsea would wrap up City’s fifth title in six seasons.
Brighton have 58 points with four games still remaining.
Meanwhile, First-half goals from Bryan Mbeumo and Yoane Wissa secured a comfortable 2-0 home Premier League victory for Brentford over West Ham United to ensure their best league finish since 1938.
Brentford move up to ninth place with 53 points from 36 games and will finish in the top half for the first time since they came sixth 85 years ago. West Ham stayed 15th, six points clear of the relegation zone with two games to play.