Jamie Carragher speaks out on Arsene Wenger decision

Karim Benzema

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says his tactical switch to three at the back brought more stability to the team in Monday's 2-1 win at Middlesbrough, but hinted that it won't be a permanent solution.

Ozil's 71st-minute victor set Arsenal within seven points of fourth-placed Manchester City, and Wenger's guys possess a match in hand. Recently we faced many direct games, I thought before the game maybe they'd play with Gestede and Negredo and go for a very direct game. "It is good for the confidence, we know the confidence will come back slowly". "We were riding our luck a little bit in one or two occasions on crosses, but overall we were a bit more solid defensively today", a visibly revealed Wenger said.

Alexis Sanchez gave the Gunners a lead with a rare piece of quality in an otherwise uneventful first half, but that was cancelled out by Alvaro Negredo early in the second half.

Wenger fielded a back three against Middlesbrough for the first time in his 20-year reign in the 2-1 victory on Teesside.

"Yes, I did something I had not done in 20 years - but that just goes to show that even at my age I can still change", he smiled.

The system: Keown reflected on the game for the Daily Mail on Tuesday, noting that a back three was nothing new for the team at that time as they had used the system often under Bruce Rioch.

"I think due to their pride they made it a hard first half and then when they came back at us and equalised, it was a test for us". That is what we needed and that's what we wanted.

Boro pushed for a second equaliser, but Arsenal withstood the late pressure to claim an important result in their pursuit of the Champions League places, alleviating some pressure on Wenger ahead of Sunday's FA Cup semi-final date with Manchester City at Wembley. That's why we never gave up.

Speaking on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football, Carragher said: "They'll have been stung by the criticism this week".

"I felt we were focused and committed".

Arsenal could have killed the game off with nine minutes remaining when Giroud blazed well wide from the edge of the box, but the hosts were soon back on the attack and Ayala and Ben Gibson both failed to make the most of half-chances as Boro bombarded the area with high balls. Dani's is a knock-down, he's got his head on it and unfortunately it goes straight at Petr Cech", he said."Either side and it's a goal - Dani did everything he could.

"Obviously in recent weeks it has not gone well for us".

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