You’d be mistaken for thinking Saturday’s game against Brighton would be a good chance for Arsenal to bounce back on their road to European football next season.
Following United and Spurs both dropping points on Friday night, the Gunners had the chance to close the gap on fifth place to just three points.
But for one reason or another, Mikel Arteta’s side just weren’t up to the task and failed to hold on to their 1-0 lead, eventually losing to a 95th minute Neal Maupay goal, who subsequently sealed Brighton’s first victory in 2020.
Nicolas Pepe opened the game with a neat finish into the top left hand corner, but with just over 20 minutes to go, Arsenal couldn’t hold on and ran out of steam, falling victims to Brighton’s counter-attacking efforts.
Arsenal face an almost impossible challenge of restoring any kind of success this season, with it likely Arteta will have one eye on making sure his side can actually kick off the 2020/21 campaign in a respectable fashion.
6 – Bernd Leno
Untroubled throughout the time he was on the pitch. However, it looks as if his season is over after a cringeworthy landing caused the German shot-stopper to twist his right leg in what looks like a nasty knee injury.
5 – Hector Bellerin
The facilitator of Arsenal’s attack down the right, instead of beating defenders with his pace, Bellerin’s main job was to try and whip the ball in the box. Not where his strengths lie and it showed. Still hasn’t found the partnership with Pepe we were all hoping for.
6 – Shkodran Mustafi
A lot like his performance on Wednesday, its difficult to single Mustafi out for any of the goals conceded today. His aerial dual’s are getting better, and with every game you can see him growing in confidence.
6 – Rob Holding
Found it tough today but that was understandable given it was his first start since January 6th. Didn’t do anything to suggest he should be dropped for the Southampton game.
4 – Sead Kolasinac
Hard to see what he brought to our game today. There’s a massive difference when he’s in the side instead of Tierney and I think Aubameyang would agree. Defended well but unable to spark anything in attack.
4 – Dani Ceballos
Without Granit Xhaka or Mesut Ozil in the team today, the responsibility fell on Ceballos’ shoulders to become the ball-playing midfielder we needed. Sadly, that didn’t happen. Spent more time on the ground than anywhere else. Couldn’t unlock a tight-knit Brighton defence and is doing nothing to suggest he should be here next season.
5 – Matteo Guendouzi
It’s so frustrating to watch this man at the moment because you can tell he’s one of the few Arsenal players that really does care about the club. He was never the same following Maupay’s dodgy tackle to cause Leno’s injury, and you could tell the Brighton winger was living rent free in Guendouzi’s head. Likely to get a ban after he grabbed Maupay in the neck at full-time.
6 – Bukayo Saka
Came close on a number of occasions to open the scoring. Hit the crossbar in the first half with his weaker right foot and genuinely looked very comfortable playing in his new position. Confidence is not an issue for this boy and he will do great things. Whether that will be in an Arsenal shirt could be down to how well we can convince him of the direction this club is going in.
7 – Nicolas Pepe
Looked our most dangerous player throughout today. Showed that on any given day he can turn a bleak performance into a game-changing one. His goal was sublime, but will be quickly erased from our memories given what happened in the 20 minutes that followed. Caused problems for the defence and rubber-stamped his place in the side.
4 – Alex Lacazette
Had a great chance to score from six yards out but his header was saved, just. Failed to influence the match due to having six Brighton players around him at all times. It was a game for a Peter Crouch style striker. Not sure where his future lies after this season.
6 – Pierre Emerick Aubameyang
Did all he could to try and change the game but it was a case of ‘nearly moments’ for the Gabon striker. His body language is growing ever-more frustrated in the last few games, as if he knows he’s too good to be around this football club. If he has any ambition, he’ll leave this summer.
5 – Emiliano Martinez
Was forced to make some good saves in the early moments of replacing Leno. Blundered the first goal and was well beaten for the second. Ultimately he faces a massive test over the coming weeks as to whether he can hold on to any of Arsenal’s dignity.
4 – Eddie Nketiah
Couldn’t get the ball when he came on and spent the majority of his 12 minutes chasing down overhit and loose balls.
n/a – Kieran Tierney
Replaced Saka in the 87th minute.
n/a – Reiss Nelson
Replaced Pepe in the 87th minute.
n/a – Joe Willock
Replaced Ceballos in the 87th minute.