The chant from the Arsenal supporters cut through the south coast air and it laid bare the bitter frustration and the overall sense of helplessness.
“We want Wenger out,” they bellowed. It was the 34th minute, their team was 2-0 down to Chris Hughton’s well-drilled Brighton & Hove Albion and all they could do was conclude that Arsène Wenger’s time was up.
It is a judgment that has been reached by many but when the hardcore travelling fans broadcast it, the impression is somehow stronger, more absolute. It was certainly a dismal first half for Arsenal, even if they rallied at the end of it, and it is true that when they are bad, they are horribly so.
Brighton were good. They punished Arsenal’s defensive slackness, within which the goalkeeper, Petr Cech, was a glaring culprit and they might have had more during a period when Arsenal were gripped by indecision and nervousness. On the back of goals from Lewis Dunk and Glenn Murray, this was a win that reinforced the sense that Hughton and Brighton are staying up – and with a degree of comfort.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang got Arsenal back into it with a close-range finish in the 43rd minute and even then the reaction from the away support was sarcastic. “We’ve scored a goal,” they chorused. Thereafter, Wenger’s team pressed hard on to the front foot but, although they enjoyed the territorial advantage, they failed to create too much of clear-cut note.
Their dreadful away form continues and the statistics also showed that this was a sixth defeat in eight matches in all competitions. Wenger’s suffering knows no bounds.
Arsenal have come to look so vulnerable that one of the questions to cling to them has been when, and not if, they concede. They went behind in the early running and it was a goal that left Wenger shaking his head sadly on the bench.