The Gunners have now gone nine games without a win after losing 2-1 to Brighton at Emirates Stadium

Freddie Ljungberg was just a month old the last time Arsenal went nine games without a win.

But on Thursday night, in his first home match as interim boss, the Swede saw his side equal their worst run in 42 years following a 2-1 defeat to Brighton.

You have to go back to March 1977 to find a run as wretched as the one Arsenal are on right now. That’s how bad things have got.

Ljungberg has overseen the last two games and although there have been some signs of promise in both, it’s tough to really say there has been a marked improvement since the sacking of Unai Emery.

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If the Arsenal hierarchy had hoped Ljungberg’s appointment would bring with it the famed ‘new manager bounce’ they will have been left disappointed.

The hosts were awful for large parts of the game, just as they have been all season. There was no energy, no desire and very little quality.

The introduction of Nicolas Pepe at half-time for the dismal Joe Willock did lead to a slight improvement and, when Alexandre Lacazette’s header from Mesut Ozil’s corner looped in at the back post to cancel out Adam Webster’s first-half opener, it looked like Arsenal might go on to claim a first win since beating Bournemouth 1-0 in October.

But Brighton rode their luck for a 15-minute spell, with David Luiz seeing a goal cancelled out by VAR for offside, and then snatched the winner through Neal Maupay’s fine glancing header.

It was the Seagulls’ first ever win at Arsenal and it was one they thoroughly deserved. They arrived here having lost their last four away games and were without a win in six on their travels, but they largely dominated an Arsenal side who now sit 10th in the Premier League, just five points above the relegation zone.

Ljungberg will have known the size of the task facing him when he took this job on, but even he will have been surprised by the lack of reaction from his players during the past seven days.

Brighton had 20 shots, Arsenal just 12. The visitors could have, and probably should have, won by more.

Publicly Arsenal have said they will not be rushed into appointing a permanent successor for Emery. “It’s about finding the right candidate, not the first candidate,” said Josh Kroenke.

But what the past two games against Norwich and Brighton have shown us is that Arsenal desperately need a strong coach to come in and fix the mess that years of stagnation have left behind.

It feels unfair to ask Ljungberg to deal with this. He is a club man and will give it his all, but a decisive decision needs to be made because this is a ship that is sinking fast.

Arsenal go to West Ham next before starting a run of five games which includes Manchester City, Everton, Chelsea and Manchester United.

Things are bad now, very bad – but they could get even worse. You sense that Arsenal haven’t even hit rock bottom yet and that should be a very scary prospect for those in the corridors of power at Emirates Stadium.