Middlesbrough 1 Arsenal 2: Ozil keeps top-four hopes alive

Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger says Arsenal must win its remaining seven games of the English Premier League season, or face a year without UEFA Champions League football.

The Gunners cut the gap to fourth-placed Manchester City to seven points with a 2-1 victory at Middlesbrough on Monday Night Football and have a game in hand on Pep Guardiola's side.

"The clarity is there - we have to win every game to have a chance of getting in the top four". "Of course, the opponents had a bit more of the ball than we're used to. 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". "Even though we had a group of experienced central defenders, the system was initially hard to pick up".

"Especially in the first half, I thought it worked really well for us".

It took Mesut Ozil's strike 19 minutes from time to clinch victory as Wenger's decision to play three at the back for the first time in his 20 years with the Gunners ultimately paid off.

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. "We lost two games against West Brom and Crystal Palace where we had 70 percent of possession, and today we had a bit less".

"It was significant. We were in a poor situation and we needed to come back with our quality", he told Sky Sports.

Arsenal's lack of experience playing 3-4-3 was evident early in the second half when Downing charged away down an exposed right flank on the counter before providing the flawless ball for Negredo to poke in his ninth of the season. "As I've just said to them, we'll start to prepare tomorrow and we go to Bournemouth ready".

"It didn't matter how we won, we had to go out there and get back to basics", Wenger added. That is what we needed and that's what we wanted.

It is unlikely to be enough to convince Arsenal fans he will stay at the club, but it will no doubt have been pleasing for Wenger. That's why we never gave up.

Agnew said: "I think that was the moment".

"I felt we might get the second goal after Negredo scored".

"There is still come chances that we could've dealt better with some long balls but overall the commitment and the focus was there". 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 we missed an opportunity".

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