Arsenal suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to Brighton at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, jeopardising their chances of finishing in the top four.
Leandro Trossard and Enock Mwepu scored in each half, and despite a late equaliser from Martin Odegaard, Mikel Arteta’s side suffered their second consecutive Premier League defeat.
Brighton had gone three games without a goal but produced an outstanding performance to earn their first league victory away from home since February.
Arsenal are still fifth in the table, three points behind city rivals Tottenham Hotspur, who thrashed Aston Villa 4-0 later on Saturday.
“It has been a tough week; especially today because we wanted a reaction [to the defeat at Crystal Palace],” Arteta told BBC.
“It came in the second half, which is too late; we have to have the courage and personality to play much better and raise the level in the first half.
“We made it really difficult for ourselves. We were sloppy, we had no purpose to attack, we were really imprecise and we didn’t want to play forward.
“We’ve shown for many weeks how well we can play; it has been a difficult week and we’ve lost some big players, but if you get what you want, not everything is going to be with a blue sky. This is our team in the good moments and especially the defeats.
“There are many games to play but we have to be concerned about that performance, especially first half.”
Due to injury, Mikel Arteta shuffled the Arsenal starting lineup, with midfielder Granit Xhaka starting at left back, a decision that gave Arsenal no control in midfield and no continuity in attack in the first half.
Brighton took the lead on 28 minutes when Trossard was let through on goal and finished well past Aaron Ramsdale.
After a lengthy VAR review, the hosts felt they had equalised on the stroke of half-time, but Gabriel Martinelli’s goal was ruled out for offside.
Arsenal began the second half strongly, but fell behind 2-0 after 67 minutes when Mwepu’s magnificent half-volley soared into the bottom corner.
Arsenal responded with a goal in the 89th minute from Odegaard, but they were unable to complete the comeback and were defeated.