After Middlesbrough Victory, Arsene Wenger Demands Perfection from Ailing Arsenal Squad

Karim Benzema Striker linked with Arsenal once more

The hosts responded shortly after the restart after Sanchez lost possession, with Stewart Downing crossing deliciously for Alvaro Negredo to bundle home past a helpless Petr Cech.

According to Keown, Arsenal have not employed a three-at-the-back formation since 1997, and he was able to point out several flaws in the Gunners set-up.

That win, arriving after four consecutive league defeats away from home, left Arsenal seven points behind Manchester City for the final Champions League qualifying place, with a game in hand.

The team reached Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium with plenty of time to spare, yet there was still a lack of direction on the pitch as they searched for a route to goal in the opening stages.

"We were tested mentally and we found a response to win the game. I mean I didn't think I'd ever see Arsene Wenger change systems".

"But there was (still) a nervousness there, because when you don't win the confidence goes quickly and comes back slowly".

Wenger admitted he feared the worst when Middlesbrough grabbed their equaliser.

- Arsenal picked up only their second win in their last nine away league games (D1 L6), though both wins came against teams now in the relegation zone (also Swansea City). "Despite sometimes hard situations some situations lack clarity we can still perform".

Mesut Ozil's second-half strike secured an unconvincing 2-1 win for Arsenal away to relegation-threatened Middlesbrough that keeps their top-four hopes alive.

FW Mesut Ozil, 7 - It was a new role for the usual No. 10 as he was pushed a bit to the right and he engaged more with the defensive side of the game, making five tackles. "In the second half on one or two occasions, I felt we could have been a bit more dominant in the air, but overall yes". It was one of the last chances to stay in the league and that's why we never gave up.

"Mathematically it is still possible, even if it is hard, but we will give it a go", Wenger said after the victory at the Riverside.

He added: "I feel we are in a position where we want to perform".

Performances have improved since Steve Agnew replaced Aitor Karanka on a caretaker basis last month and this display was perhaps their best so far under the Englishman.

"Despite sometimes hard situations, or some situations that lack clarity, we still can perform".

"The players were wonderful, I couldn't ask any more of them", he said. "They gave every single ounce of energy that they had throughout the 94 minutes".

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