Arsenal’s winless run extended to a ninth game as the Gunners fell to a 2-1 loss to Brighton on Thursday night, with Freddie Ljungberg admitting that his side looked ‘scared’.
Brighton’s victory at the Emirates was the first time the Seagulls had beaten any of the ‘big six’ away from home since their promotion to the Premier League, goals from Adam Webster and Neal Maupay condemning Arsenal to the club’s longest winless run since 1977.
Alexandre Lacazette had levelled the scores five minutes after the interval in what was his 100th game for the club before Maupay’s 80th minute winner, and speaking after the game, interim Gunners boss Freddie Ljungberg admitted that his side ‘didn’t show up’ in the first half.
“We’re disappointed to lose at home,” Ljungberg said in his post-match press conference. “The main thing is we didn’t show up in the first half. We were very passive and we had a chat at half-time, made a tactical change and all of a sudden we looked like a team.
“For 20 minutes or so we really pushed them, scored goals and thought we could win the game, but VAR was correct. That’s how we have to play the whole game. I said to the players that you can’t give away a whole half to any team in the Premier League.
“That’s what we need to learn from.”
The defeat leaves the North London outfit sitting in 10th in the division after picking up just 19 points from a possible 45, 10 points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea, a gap that looks increasingly difficult to bridge in their pursuit of Champions League football.
Asked about how to change the mood within the squad, Ljungberg admitted that his side looked ‘scared’.
“That’s the tough part. They look very short on confidence,” he continued. “In the first half they were scared to get the ball and a bit scored to move, they were just standing still. That’s something we need to talk about.
“They need to have a win, we need to dig out a win and get them some confidence. They can do it because they showed it in the beginning of the second half and they did it really well for 20 minutes. It’s hard to say that when you lose at home, but they were very good in that little spell.“
Next up for the Gunners is a London derby against West Ham next Monday night, the Hammers having beaten Chelsea last weekend, but losing to Wolves in midweek.