Arsenal F.C. keep Champions League hopes alive with Middlesbrough win

Arsene Wenger

Arsenal ended their four-game losing run on the road, as goals from Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil secured a 2-1 win over Middlesbrough on Monday evening.

With six games to play, Middlesbrough are six points adrift of safety after Monday's 2-1 defeat by Arsenal at the Riverside Stadium.

At one point it looked like Arsene Wenger's side were going to drop points yet again, but a second half victor from Mesut Ozil made the scoreline 2-1, and Arsenal held on for a vital three points.

"I felt that we were recently a bit vulnerable defensively and to give a bit more reassurance to the team", Wenger told Arsenal TV.

With Arsene Wenger experimenting with a 3-5-2 formation for the first time in nearly 20 years, the North London club were expected to at least surprise Middlesbrough but familiar shades mediocrity shone the brightest under the tiresome sky by the Tees.

"The opponent had a bit more of the ball than we are used to [but] we lost two games, against Crystal Palace and West Brom, where we had 70 per cent possession and today we had a bit less".

"They have shown that one win can literally change lots of things and it can also affect other teams around you in the table, so that's what we aim to do".

Now in sixth place, the Gunners trail fourth-place Manchester City by seven points, but the London club have a game in hand. "And the gap hasn't been getting any bigger although we've now reached a stage where we have to win".

Mesut Ozil's volley earned Arsenal all three points and breathed life into the visitor's flagging hopes of Champions League qualification, after Alvaro Negredo had cancelled out an Alexis Sanchez free-kick.

"I felt we were focused and committed".

"We needed to play forward a little bit earlier, and I thought we did that, and when we scored the goal I thought we would start to put them under pressure".

"To know that we can win again away from home is important because traditionally we are a team who has made good results away from home", Wenger added.

But when asked if the formation would remain, he said: "No, we want to have the ball".

"I thought the players were fantastic in terms of their effort, attitude and commitment".

"There are enough points still to play for", he said. The ball just wouldn't drop in the box for us.

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