Player Ratings: Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal

Written by Loïc Garcia

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It was a must-win for the Gunners tonight, in order to avoid a fourth consecutive away loss and to keep even the slightest of hopes to get into the Champions League next season. 

Arsène Wenger chose to play a 3-4-3 formation tonight and for the most part, the team responded well. Ozil and Sanchez seemed to link better than they have done in the last few weeks, while the defence seemed slight less porous. 

The Gunners secured the three points tonight, so here are the Player Ratings from the match. 

Petr Cech: 6.5/10

Back from injury after Emiliano Martinez deputised for him between the sticks, he was a very welcome addition to the side, bringing some calm in tough times and being very solid on his line when Boro were menacing or when the ball was fumbled around Arsenal’s box.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 7.5/10

The Ox stepped in at right wing-back ahead of Bellerin and he was almost undoubtedly the ‘Man of the Match’. The Ox was very solid defensively even after being booked after three minutes and was ever present going forward, he was Arsenal’s main man tonight, quieter in the second-half but still a very good performance.

Gabriel Paulista: 5/10

The Brazilian started instead of the injured Mustafi and did reasonably well.  Gabriel did look a bit shaky at times and did come up with some rash moment but just did enough. 

Laurent Koscielny: 4.5/10

Our captain was back after recovering from an achilles injury, and while he showed a very good positional sense and played the ball out from the back well, he was also at fault for Boro’s goal, trying a sort of scissor clearance instead of just heading the ball away.

Rob Holding: 6/10

Called to fill the extra spot in the back three, the young Englishman responded in a very positive manner. He had a tough patch after the equaliser but for most of the game he kept his composure and looked mature as ever, definitely one for the future, or even now if Mustafi is to miss the semi-final.


Nacho Monreal: 5/10

He took a bit of time to get into the game and he’s most likely not a long-term solution in that position but overall he adapted well, even after the introduction of Adama Traoré.

Granit Xhaka: 5/10

Disappointing last week, Xhaka played in a strange role tonight; sometimes running around the box, as the back three stopped him from stepping in between the center-backs, it’ll take time to adapt to that role if Arsenal are to keep that 3-4-3. 

Aaron Ramsey: 6.5/10

The Welshman started in place of Elneny and put in a decent shift. Ramsey covered a lot of ground, winning the ball back near his box and bursting forward at the other end although he still needs minutes to get his touch and confidence back but games like that will help, especially with the assist for Özil’s goal.

Mesut Özil: 6.5/10

Nowhere to be seen in the first-half, he burst into the game after the break, moving well between the lines, linking up with his teammates and scoring an all-important goal, taking his tally to 11 goals for this season. He worked his socks off in terms of tackling and getting back in position. 

Alexis Sanchez: 5.5/10

Difficult to find a player better than him in the Premier League, impossible to find one more frustrating, he proved it again tonight, forcing his passes, losing the ball in his own half and completing only 54% of his passes in the second-half, however his tremendous free-kick kept Arsenal from a potential bananna skin. 

Olivier Giroud; 5.5/10

With Lucas and Welbeck injured and Alexis wanting to play on the left, it was Olivier’s turn to lead the line, he held up the play really well but failed to do more, he did nothing more than what was needed.

The substitutes:

Hector Bellerin: N/A

Francis Coquelin: N/A

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