Arsenal have lost at home for the first time since May as a 2-0 defeat to West Ham cost Mikel Arteta’s team the chance to return to the top of the Premier League.

Goals by Tomas Soucek in the 13th minute and former Arsenal player Konstantinos Mavropanos in the 55th – combined with a stout defensive display – gave the Hammers a surprising win at Emirates Stadium and continued a midseason blip by the Gunners.

That’s just one win in their last four league matches for Arsenal, who were in first place for Christmas and need to beat Fulham away on Sunday to be in that position heading into 2024.

Arsenal are currently in second and two points behind Liverpool, who don’t play again until New Year’s Day.

It could have been an even bigger win for West Ham but Said Benrahma had a penalty saved by Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya in the sixth minute of stoppage time.

There was some controversy over the first goal, with cameras not showing definitively if the ball was out of play when Jarrod Bowen turned it back into the area for Soucek to force home. Bowen’s leg blocked the best sight of whether any of the ball was in play and the referee stayed with the onfield decision of giving the goal.

A similar situation occurred with Arsenal at Newcastle, who scored the only goal of their game at St James’ Park on November 4 amid debate over whether the ball was in play as a cross came in for Anthony Gordon’s strike.

Bukayo Saka hit the post for Arsenal but the home side lacked their usual energy in attack and conceded again when James Ward-Prowse’s corner was flicked home off the underside of the crossbar by Mavropanos, whose celebration was muted because of his previous links to Arsenal.

Arsenal last lost at home in mid-May to Brighton, a defeat that virtually ensured the title last season would be heading to Manchester City and not the Gunners.

The win lifted West Ham to sixth, above Manchester United.

At the Amex Stadium, Tottenham’s top-four credentials were damaged by a miserable performance in a 4-2 loss at Brighton.

Late goals for Tottenham by Alejo Véliz and Ben Davies gave the score a respectable look but the visitors were outplayed by a Brighton team missing up to 10 players through injury.

Jack Hinshelwood powered a shot into the roof of the net in the 11th minute and Joao Pedro converted a penalty in the 23rd after Dejan Kulusevski pulled back Danny Welbeck in the area.

James Milner also struck the post for Brighton in a first half that saw Tottenham’s defence – missing injured centre backs Cristian Romero and Micky van de Ven – get sliced open time and again.

Richarlison also hit the post for Spurs and had a goal ruled out for offside before half-time substitute Pervis Estupinan made it 3-0 with a shot from 25 metres that flew into the top corner in the 63rd.

Joao Pedro scored his second – again from the penalty spot – in the 75th after Evan Ferguson was fouled by Giovani Lo Celso, but Tottenham then rallied late.

Veliz netted his first Premier League goal after Kulusevski blocked Lewis Dunk’s clearance straight to Son, who set up the Argentine forward in the 81st.

When Davies headed in Pedro Porro’s cross four minutes later, a sensational comeback was potentially on but Brighton held on despite more chances for Ange Postecoglou’s men, who would have jumped back into the top four with a victory.

Source: AAP