Four things we learned: Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal

The long wait for a win in the Premier League is finally over. We may not have seen a riveting display but The Arsenal have ended their drought. With that being said, let’s have a look at four things we learned from the match.

It may not have been the best performance but the Gunners just did enough to get over the line. The win sees Wenger’s men rise to sixth and with plenty to do but here are the four things we learned from the game. 

1) After all these years Wenger is capable of springing a surprise

Arsenal lined up with three at the back and it was the first time Arsene Wenger has played that formation since 1997. Arsenal shook off the consecutive defeats by grinding out a 2-1 win against Middlesbrough on a wet and cold night at the Riverside Stadium.We may not have seen the silky elegant Arsenal that occasionally have shown up this season but it was the three points that really mattered, and Arsenal fought for it. The three at the back was a nice surprise for the fans and seems to have serious promise for the future. 

2) Arsenal fans and players want to move past the negativity and the fans are behind the players

The fans vocal criticism of the recent individual and collected performances was answered by the players with that solid performance. 

After the chants of “you’re not fit to wear the shirt” at Selhurst Park, that abject performance was forgotten with a fairly efficient outing against a drab Middlesbrough side. You could hear the fans chanting for Alexis Sanchez after his brilliant free-kick just before half-time and for Ozil at the end of the game for grabbing the winner which the players will appreciate. Say what you will about the contract saga surrounding Alexis, but Sanchez is loved by the fans and he loves the fans. Why wouldn’t we love him, not just a magnificent player but gestures like handing his match shirt to a young fan after the game are sure to further endear him to the Arsenal faithful.

3) Even with the new formation we failed to keep a clean sheet 

Despite playing three at the back  Laurent Koscielny failed to head the Stuart Downing cross away to make it another game that Arsenal failed to keep a clean sheet. Arsenal have now conceded 18 goals in their last six away games across all competitions and the only clean sheet came against Sutton United. If Arsenal are to press on and somehow finish in the top four the players need to start shutting up shop and keep teams at bay. We have a few key games remaining that are bound to be tough particularly the North London derby and a visit from Manchester United in a few weeks time, which means we should be looking to improve defensively for our remaining run in fixtures.

4) Arsenal made history tonight becoming only the second side to reach a major feat

Alexis Sanchez’s goal was Arsenal’s 3000th away goal in English league football, the Gunners are 2nd side to reach that figure. The Chilean forward is a stat machine; he scored more away goals in the Premier League this season than any other player with 13 goals and he scored his 19th goal with that brilliant freekick making Thierry Henry the only player to have scored more direct freekicks than Sanchez. Not bad company to keep Alexis.


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