Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored his second goal in an Arsenal shirt but that was scant consolation on a miserable day on the south coast.
We started brightly enough but the gloom descended when Shane Duffy beat Petr Cech to a deep corner to send a header back across goal, and Lewis Dunk poked in the loose ball.
It went from bad to worse when Laurent Koscielny gave possession away with a wayward pass out of defence. Brighton worked the ball to Pascal Gross and he crossed for Glenn Murray to bury a downward header.
Cech kept the score down with a vital stop from Anthony Knockaert but Brighton looked dangerous every time they came forward and were dominant in the air.
Things looked bleak, but we dug deep and grabbed a lifeline just before the break.
Alex Iwobi was first to a loose clearance and kept his head to pick out Granit Xhaka inside the box. The Swiss midfielder's driven low ball found Aubameyang, who stuck out a leg to flick the ball beyond Mathew Ryan.
We almost drew level before the break when Henrikh Mkhitaryan curled in an inviting cross and Duffy, under pressure from Koscielny, powered a header against his own post.
That was bad luck. Nonetheless, there was now an urgency and intensity about our play - and that continued after the break.
Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang and - most spectacularly - Ozil forced saves from Ryan as we forced Brighton back.
But the home side held firm to condemn us to a fourth straight defeat in all competitions.
WHAT IT MEANS
We’re in sixth place in the Premier League - 13 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham.
Our final chance of silverware is the Europa League and we head to the San Siro this week for the first leg of our last-16 clash with Milan.
CHANCES AT THE AMEX
Aubameyang scored his second goal for us since his record move from Borussia Dortmund. This is how close we came to a second goal on the south coast:
3 mins - Iwobi’s shot is blocked by a sliding Duffy, but Aubameyang seizes on the loose ball and finds Ozil for a curler that goes just over
40 - Mkhitaryan makes a run in behind the Brighton defence and Chambers finds him, but Ryan saves from a narrow angle
45 - Mkhitaryan’s corner is cleared back to him and his second cross is headed against the post by Duffy, under pressure from Koscielny
49 - Mkhitaryan takes aim from 20 yards out but Ryan gets down to save
51 - Iwobi finds space for a shot but he can’t get enough power on it and Ryan gathers comfortably
58 - Ozil surges through the centre, finds Aubameyang, collects the return pass and sends in a fierce shot that Ryan pushes around the post
89 - Wilshere has space on the edge of the area after a corner is half-cleared, but his shot bounces wide
90 - Aubameyang strikes a firm half-volley from 12 yards but Ryan is equal to it
Copyright 2022 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.