A 2-1 away win!
Arsenal had to travel into the relegation zone to find a team they could beat.
Remarkably, fourth is still possible.
But Alexis Sanchez, the star who wants to leave, is still carrying this team.
Supported by almost 3,000 travelling fans, Arsenal took the lead when Sanchez scored and when it was 1-1 the Chilean maestro produced a pinpoint pass for Ramsey to chest down for Ozil to make it 1-2 in 71 minutes.
The team news was a shocker: Wenger dropped six players and played 3-4-3.
Rob Holding came in alongside Koscielny and Gabriel.
Wenger has not played three centrebacks for 20 years.
He obviously thought big striker Negredo was a threat.
Boro’s overmanned wall prevented keeper Brad Guzan seeing the free-kick that Sanchez whipped over them. Even if Guzan had seen it, he could not have reached that ball.
But five minutes into the second half Negredo studded in the equaliser from a very good Downing cross that beat Koscielny
Oxlade owned up after the match but his admissions sounded somewhat scripted.
I don’t normally watch the postmatchg interviews, let alone quote them here.
This is what Oxy said:
“What we’ve done previously in the last few games has not been good enough.We need to take responsibility for that and I think we’ve done that this week between ourselves.We knew today that we needed to go back out there and get back to basics. And that’s making sure that our commitment levels were right to play for this football club. It’s a massive honour to play for a team like Arsenal and you’ve got to give it 100% week in, week out. And maybe that’s been slipping in the last few weeks.“
As I’ve said all week, Sunday is the big game.
Middlesbrough don’t have anybody half as gifted as Kevin De Bruyne, don’t have a world class finisher like Kun Aguero, and are not led by an inspiring giant like Vincent Kompany, who is fit again.