Arsenal loses 2-1 to visiting Aston Villa
Arsenal's frustrating finish to the Premier League season continued Sunday with a 2-1 home defeat against Aston Villa.
Former Tottenham striker Darren Bent was jeered by the north London crowd as he scored twice in the first 15 minutes to leave Arsenal in real danger of seeing FA Cup winners Manchester City overtake Arsene Wenger's side in the race for automatic Champions League qualification.
Although Robin van Persie finally scored for the Gunners, City could move into third place if it wins its game in hand in midweek against Stoke - which it beat 1-0 in Saturday's FA Cup final at Wembley.
Jeers rang out at the final whistle at Emirates Stadium to send a clear message that the fans are running out of patience.
There were plenty of empty seats at kickoff for the final home match in another season which promised so much but failed to deliver.
Villa, which needed at least a point to secure its topflight status, took the lead on 11 minutes.
A simple high ball from Kyle Walker drifted over Sebastien Squillaci and through to an unmarked Bent, who collected it on his chest and turned to volley smartly past Wojciech Szczesny.
Before Arsenal could mount a comeback, it was 2-0 down.
A slip from defender Thomas Vermaelen, returning from eight months out with an Achilles' problem, allowed Ashley Young time on the ball. The winger slipped a pass through to Bent, with fullback Bacary Sagna appealing for a nonexistent offside as the England striker slotted into the bottom corner.
Arsenal wasted possession and chances before finally bundling the ball in through Van Persie.
But it was too little too late as injured Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas was left to lead his team around the stadium in acknowledgment of fans once more with a sense of what might have been.