Wenger praise for Arsenal response

Karim Benzema Striker linked with Arsenal once more

Arsenal are up to sixth in the table courtesy of the victory.

Alexis Sanchez's expertly-dispatched 42nd-minute free-kick had given the visitors the lead at the end of a tight first half, but Alvaro Negredo dragged Boro back into it five minutes after the restart and had Petr Cech not kept out Daniel Ayala's close-range header 11 minutes later, the outcome might have been very different.

Arsenal's response was impressive in the 63rd minute as Sanchez's through ball picked out Ozil, but goalkeeper Brad Guzan sensed the danger and did well to save at the feet of the German global.

The Gunners won away from home in the league for the first time since January 14 at Middlesbrough on Monday evening to drag themselves to within seven points of where they want to be with seven games remaining. "Sometimes the situation can turn the other way around".

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.

Boro's status as the lowest scorers in the top four tiers of English football made it hard to see them getting back into the match, but it took just five minutes for them to find an equaliser after the restart as Arsenal once again failed to keep a clean sheet on the road.

"When you don't win confidence goes quickly and comes back slowly".

Wenger admitted he feared the worst when Middlesbrough grabbed their equaliser. It was only right that we could get them three points, so we'd like to thank them.

"Yes, it is the first time in 20 years".

"I felt we were recently a bit vulnerable defensively". We faced a direct game and we have been punished a bit on that. But Wenger has indicated that Arsenal will abandon the new-found tactics this weekend at Wembley.

Arsenal are now seven points behind fourth-placed Manchester City with a game in hand, while Middlesbrough lie six points from safety and has also played one game fewer than most of the teams above them. "You perform on the football pitch because you love to play football".

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

Oxlade-Chamberlain laid the blame at his and his team-mates' feet.

"What we've done hasn't been good enough".

"It didn't matter how we won". We need a win and I'm confident we'll get it.

Arsenal ended a four-game losing run away from home in the Premier League and Laurent Koscielny was satisfied with the result. "The three points were massive".

The Gunners switched to a back three for the game and they dominated possession from the first whistle to the last.

"It was not flawless". But Keown said it will take time for the current squad to get used to the intricacies of the formation. "He has not come back to his level since he has been injured", Wenger told the club's website (www.arsenal.com).

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