Arsenal fans could be seen leaving the Emirates Stadium in droves as their side were battered by Brighton to all but end their hopes of winning the Premier League.
The Gunners have led the division for much of the season, but have wilted under the pressure of Manchester City’s challenge during the run-in. It has been 19 years since they last lifted the title, and that drought is now set to extend into another decade.
Their title challenge is now all but over after a dreadful defeat to the high-flying Seagulls, who dominated Mikel Arteta’s men from start to finish. Three second-half goals would deliver the win for Roberto De Zerbi’s side.
And the disappointment of such a poor showing at home led to thousands of Arsenal fans leaving the Emirates before the final whistle. Just after Pervis Estupinán had made it 3-0, Sky Sports cut to a camera hovering above the exits.
The shot showed droves of fans walking along the streets surrounding the Gunners’ home ground. It marked the final piece of evidence to show Arteta’s men had been embarrassed by their visitors.
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Julio Enciso put De Zerbi’s side ahead six minutes after the break when he nodded in Karou Mitoma’s cross from close-range. Jakub Kiwior had fallen to the ground in the build-up to the goal, apparently injured, allowing Enciso to head home unmarked.
Four minutes from time, Denis Undav capitalised on Leandro Trossard’s loose pass being blocked to lift the ball over a stranded Aaron Ramsdale. That goal all but sealed the win, but Brighton still had time to score another.
That came in the sixth minute of added time when Ramsdale parried Undav’s shot into the path of Estupinan, who fired home. Despite the thousands leaving early though, Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira insisted the Gunners could be proud of their efforts this season.
“This team has stepped forward from last season. I think if we are all looking at Arsenal from last season and to talk about them to be challenging Man City this season, I think not too many people would believe Arsenal would be here,” he told Sky Sports.
“But, of course, they will be disappointed because they were so close to winning the title. They have to be realising what they are missing because losing the game today is more than just the game – they lost the title today – but it’s about how do you rebuild the team?
“I think Arsenal will not just have to analyse the game today, they will have to analyse the season and have to make a step back to reflect on the season. These couple of pieces they are missing to be there, to be closer to Man City.
“What is really important is the experience and players going through those periods will gain this kind of experience. It was quite challenging because in the last 10 games, they were playing games to win. When you play games to win, the pressure is different.”