London : Arsenal's Premier League title hopes they suffered a massive blow after they succumbed to a 3-0 loss to Brighton at the home setting of the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, meaning that Manchester City could be crowned as champions next week.
City had secured an easy win over Everton earlier in the day and could clinch their fifth title in six seasons if Arsenal loses to Nottingham Forest on Monday. Any other result in that match will give City a chance to seal their title in front of their home fans against Chelsea next Sunday. It was essentially all or nothing for the Gunners against Brighton after City's triumph at Goodison Park, but Brighton responded forcefully to their humiliation at the hands of Everton earlier this week.
The first half of the match was goalless. The opening blow was delivered by Julio Enciso in the 51st minute, who headed in Pervis Estupinan's cross from a few yards away after Jakub Kiwior was injured when Evan Ferguson stepped on his boot and it came off.
The hosts became increasingly angry as the Seagulls played with them and Mikel Arteta was cautioned for dissent. Deniz Undav in the 86th minute then delivered the game-winning blow by kicking Aaron Ramsdale after former Brighton forward Leandro Trossard mishandled the ball.
Then, Estupinan added a third, poking home the rebound after Ramsdale's feeble save to set off wild celebrations throughout the south coast as well as in Manchester in the stoppage time.
In 36 matches, Arsenal has won 25 matches, drawn six and lost five. They are in the second position with 83 points. Brighton is at sixth place with 58 points, with 17 wins in 34 matches, seven draws and 10 losses.
The final away game of the season for Arsenal is next Saturday at Nottingham Forest. The last day, May 28, sees the Gunners hosting the Wolves.
As part of their midweek schedule, Brighton will play Newcastle on Thursday before playing Southampton the following Sunday.