Arsenal ended a difficult week in miserable fashion as they lost 2-1 to Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium on Sunday.
First-half goals from Lewis Dunk and Glenn Murray secured all three points for the home side, despite Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang halving the deficit before the break.
The result is certain to pile more pressure on Gunners manager Arsene Wenger, who was the subject of angry chants from visiting fans demanding his departure.
Murray’s header, his sixth goal in 2018, put Brighton two up after a mistake by Laurent Koscielny, prompting an angry response from the travelling supporters.
Aubameyang got a goal back but it was not enough to prevent a fourth defeat in a row in all competitions for the Gunners, marking their worst run since 2002 and leaving them facing a major challenge to finish in the top four.
Arsenal began the match on the front foot but found themselves behind seven minutes in, with Dunk sweeping the ball into the net from 12 yards out after Shane Duffy had beaten Petr Cech to a corner.
The Gunners keeper saved a good Pascal Gross shot as Brighton threatened again, with Dunk and Duffy both heading over from promising positions as the visiting defence failed to deal with routine set-pieces.
With 26 minutes gone, they gifted the home side their second goal. Koscielny’s wayward pass was sent out wide to Gross, and his curling cross from the right was headed down and beneath the body of Cech by Murray.
6 – Only Mo Salah (7) and Sergio Aguero (9) have scored more Premier League goals in 2018 than Glenn Murray (6). Mint.
Referee Stuart Attwell made a smart call not to award a penalty when Xhaka went to ground in the area, although Sead Kolasinac was fortunate to escape punishment for a shoulder challenge on Ezequiel Schelotto that ended the Brighton full-back’s game.
Wenger threw on Danny Welbeck in the closing stages but there was to be no salvation for the Gunners, who are 13 points adrift of fourth-place Tottenham with just nine matches remaining ahead of their huge Europa League trip to face AC Milan.