Arsene Wenger has complained that Arsenal's busy fixture schedule is causing their slump, as criticism of the team and the Frenchman intensified on Sunday.
The manager is under the biggest spotlight of his 22-year Gunners career and the team’s top-four hopes are all but over after a 2-1 loss to Brighton – their fourth straight loss in all competitions.
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Arsenal are now 13 points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham, with nine games to play.
Wenger's explanation may not wash with many Arsenal fans, plenty of whom have long been calling for his departure.
Those shouts will intensify on the back of another damp defeat, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring a consolation after Lewis Dunk and Glenn Murray had put Brighton in control.
Arsenal have now lost eight of their last 13 games across all competitions since the turn of the year, with speculation about Wenger's future now rife.
But the boss says his players are suffering physically.
"We had difficulty to get going and we suffered a lot physically in the first half," he said.
"After that, mentally as well I believe that the lack of confidence, linked with the physical aspect, made us lose some balls where they took advantage of it.
"Overall, on top of that, we made some defensive mistakes, where they took advantage of it as well. In the second half, it was all us.
"But we lacked a bit of sharpness and freshness physically, to make the difference.
"At the moment, we play too many games and are charged negatively on top of that because we lose them. So it's difficult."