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Arsenal draw with Brighton to all but end top four hopes

Arsenal’s hopes of a top-four Premier League finish are all but over after the lacklustre hosts were held by Brighton at Emirates Stadium.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed a golden opportunity to put Arsenal 2-1 ahead during the closing stages (Picture by Reuters)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed a golden opportunity to put Arsenal 2-1 ahead during the closing stages (Picture by Reuters)

The Gunners are three points behind Tottenham in fourth with one game to play but would need an eight-goal swing, as well as results going their way, to overtake their rivals.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put Arsenal in front with a ninth-minute penalty after Alireza Jahanbakhsh was judged to have fouled Nacho Monreal despite appearing to get the ball.

Aside from occasional bursts, Unai Emery’s side were shaky and sloppy for long periods, with Granit Xhaka committing an absurd foul on Solly March to concede a penalty that Glenn Murray converted on 61 minutes.

Arsenal frantically searched for a winner but Aubameyang volleyed wide from seven yards out and Brighton keeper Mat Ryan made a series of fine saves.

Pascal Gross could have won the game for Brighton late on but skewed his effort out towards the sideline with the goal unmanned after Bernd Leno’s superb save from March, while the visitors withstood another flurry from Arsenal in the final stages.

Barring a highly improbable final day, Arsenal will need to win the Europa League to play in the Champions League next season and take a 3-1 advantage into their semi-final second-leg in Valencia on Thursday. BBC Sport