FREDDIE LJUNGERG was just a bump in his mother’s tummy the last time Arsenal failed to win nine in a row.
The Queen was about to celebrate her Silver Jubilee and Sid Vicious had just joined the Sex Pistols when Terry Neill’s team went full Johnny Rotten back in March, 1977.
Neal Maupay’s winner made it nine without a win for Arsenal – their worst run of form since March 1977[/caption]
Now it’s a case of Never Mind the B******* for a Gunners team sleepwalking their way to mid-table mediocrity.
Ljungberg’s promotion to interim manager in place of the hapless Unai Emery last week was supposed to finally restore some much-needed sense of identity and purpose at the Emirates.
But that’s not how things are working out after a crushing defeat which leaves them so far off the top four they need binoculars.
It was Brighton’s 1-1 draw here in May which ultimately cost Arsenal Champions League qualification, but this result will be far more damaging to Ljungberg’s hopes of getting the job on a permanent basis.
The Swede had claimed after Sunday’s 2-2 draw that it was easy to identify the problems besetting the players he inherited from Emery.
Which begs the question as to why he did nothing to address the issue during his six months as Emery’s assistant.
It certainly doesn’t look as though Freddie has any answers to the biggest crisis the club has faced in years.
For Arsenal were distinctly second best to a Brighton team who won with goals from Adam Webster and Neal Maupay.
And it was no more than the visitors deserved for taking the game to a team completely shot of confidence.
Every Arsenal player looked terrified to take possession as pass after pass failed to find its intended target.
Ljungberg could hardly believe what he was watching as his team of ten senior internationals wilted in the eye of this Emirates storm.
Mesut Ozil is no more convincing under the new regime than he was under the previous one, drifting out of the action for long periods as he struggled to get out of third gear.
Alexandre Lacazette’s equaliser stood after VAR checked for offside or a foul against Sead Kolasinac[/caption]
The Gunners rushed back to try and get a winner[/caption]
Freddie Ljungberg looked on during Arsenal vs Brighton[/caption]
Top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been shunted out to the right-wing by Ljungberg’s 4-3-3 formation while Alexandre Lacazette was desperately short of support through the middle.
Lucas Torreira’s return to the starting line-up was supposed to bring some much-needed steel to the middle of the pitch and stop the opposition from playing on the counter.
Yet Arsenal still managed to concede the freedom of the Emirates to their visitors who dictated possession and carved out chance after chance against Arsenal’s rocky back four.
The last time Graham Potter was here two seasons ago, his Ostersunds team enjoyed a shock 2-1 victory in the Europa League.
Yet the Seagulls boss will take far more satisfaction from this defiant display of defensive steel and bold attacking.
The overworked Bernd Leno had already been forced into full-length saves by Aaron Connelly and Neal Maupay when Brighton deservedly took a 36th minute lead.
Pascal Gross’ corner was met with a firm header from Dan Burn and though Sokratis was able to get a block on Maupay, no-one was able to prevent Adam Webster from lashing in the loose ball.
It was only when £72million Nicolas Pepe was introduced as a half-time sub that Arsenal finally started to threaten Mat Ryan’s goal.
They levelled in the 50th minute when Lacazette’s header from Ozil’s cross looped over Ryan and dropped in at the back post.
Adam Webster struck Brighton’s opener on 36 minutes[/caption]
The Seagulls held on to their lead until half-time[/caption]
The Gunners looked glum as they went behind at home[/caption]
And they thought they were ahead when David Luiz volleyed in Ozil’s 63rd minute free-kick until VAR confirmed he was a good yard offside.
But they still looked like conceding every time the ball came anywhere near to their penalty area and it was no surprise when they fell behind again ten minutes from time.
Aaron Mooy was allowed far too much time out wide to pick out Maupay with a cross which the dangerous Frenchman guided into the far corner with a delicious glancing header.
Substitute Gabriel Martinelli almost rescued a late point for Arsenal with a firm header which Ryan did well to parry.
But it wasn’t enough to spare Ljungberg that all-too familiar sound of his team being booed off by the angriest fans in football at the final whistle.
Lucas Torreira tried to block a low free-kick from Brighton in the first-half[/caption]
Hector Bellerin was booked after just 20 minutes for a cynical foul on the edge of his own box[/caption]
Arsenal claimed the game was sold out but thousands of empty seats could be seen[/caption]
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Paul Scholes might be weirdly obsessed with Ljungberg’s choice of touchline attire but the Arsenal supporters wouldn’t care if he turned out in just his Calvin Kleins if he could somehow work out a way to stop the rot.
Ljungberg was understandably bemused at criticism from the Oldham Armani for wearing a jumper for his first match in charge at the weekend.
But the one-time underwear model can’t waste his time worrying about the football fashionistas when he has such a huge job on his hands turning Arsenal into a competitive force once again.
This post written by William Pugh originally appeared on Football news - transfers, fixtures, scores, pictures | The Sun. Read the full post here.