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Arsenal finally run out of steam as title dream ends

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

The title race is not officially over, but it is as good as done after Arsenal lost to Brighton.

The Gunners were beaten 3-0 by the Seagulls at Emirates Stadium and, in all honesty, they can have no complaints.

Few sides have come to the Emirates and strutted their stuff like Brighton, and Roberto De Zerbi's side were worthy winners.

They finished the game with 59 per cent possession and three goals to their name. Two of those came in the final four minutes as Arsenal ran out of steam.

Their title race has run out of steam too and at the full-time whistle they looked like a side whose race is run. Several players fell to the floor and it will be almost impossible to pick themselves up after this.

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Manchester City, who beat Everton 3-0 earlier on Sunday, are now four points clear at the top of the Premier League, with a game in hand. One more victory and they will be champions, regardless of what Arsenal do in their final two matches.

Brighton dominated possession during the first half and it made for an intriguing tactical battle. The visitors were baiting Arsenal into pressing them high up the pitch and Mikel Arteta’s side were happy to oblige.

It created the Gunners better opportunities of the half. However, it was the same for Brighton and they squandered the best chance of the opening 45 minutes. Karou Mitoma skipped past Ben White on the left, but Julio Enciso could only skew the cross wide.

Arsenal did not create as clear an opening as that, however they did go close on a number of occasions.

Martin Odegaard fired a shot just past the post and Bukayo Saka did the same right at the end of the half.

In between those two chances, Leandro Trossard - who came on after 19 minutes when Gabriel Martinelli was forced off injured - hit the crossbar and Gabriel Jesus drew a good save from Brighton goalkeeper Jason Steele at his near post.

It felt like a game of cat and mouse - either Brighton would open Arsenal up by breaking their high press, or the visitors would be punished for trying to play out from the back.

In the end, it was Arsenal who were undone as they fell behind just six minutes after the break. Levi Colwill, whose passing had caused the Gunners problems all game, sent Mitoma free with a long ball down the left.

The winger played in Pervis Estupinan and his cross was head straight back to him by Kieran Tierney. The ball went into the box again and Enciso stole in to score, with centre-back Jakub Kiwior down after Evan Ferguson had caught his foot.

It was a hammer blow for Arsenal, who knew this game was win or bust for them in the title race. Arteta threw on Thomas Partey and Reiss Nelson, and the latter almost produced more heroics as he instantly went close to scoring when cutting in from the left.

Arteta continued to throw on attackers as he pushed for way back into the match, with Eddie Nketiah and Emile Smith Rowe added to the mix.

It was Brighton, however, who scored again as Arsenal, and not them, were caught out playing out from the back.

To make matters worse, it was former Seagulls forward Trossard who was the guilty part. A sloppy flick from him found its way to Deniz Undav and his dinked finish had Arsenal fans heading for the exit.

By that point, the Gunners looked spent and to rub salt in the wounds Brighton added a third deep into injury time through Estupinan.