After Middlesbrough Victory, Arsene Wenger Demands Perfection from Ailing Arsenal Squad
- Author: Julie Sanders Apr 19, 2017,
Apr 19, 2017, 1:20
It was a change and new for a lot of us, but I think we've adapted really well to it. You could see that on some occasions, we were a bit over-cautious tonight. Hopefully that will give us a bit more confidence. Mathematically it is still possible now, even if it is hard, but we will give it a go.
Goals from contract rebels Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil saved the Frenchman's skin.
Wenger fielded a three-man central defence for the first time in 20 years as manager, and while the new formation was not wholly convincing, Arsenal secured their first Premier League away win since January 14.
Wenger has not strayed from a traditional back four for over 20 years but made the surprise tactical adjustment for last night's trip to Middlesbrough.
"But sometimes when a team lacks confidence, just to change the system can help to believe in something different".
"It was a committed game that we needed to win". Alexis Sanchez curled in a ideal free kick to give the Gunners the lead in the first half, then helped set up Ozil for the victor.
"It was not flawless but I think it's good to come back with the win. We need to keep fighting for them". That is what we needed and that's what we wanted. It's one of their last chances to stay in the league. That's why we never gave up.
"I felt that it added a bit more stability on the long balls".
Boro head coach Steve Agnew was left to bemoan one that got away after Petr Cech pulled off a fine reaction save to deny central defender Daniel Ayala with 61 minutes gone.
"Lose Sunday and I still think those questions will be at the forefront of every single person's mind".
Sanchez floated a ball over the top into the box that was downed by Aaron Ramsey into the path of Ozil, and the German finished with a right-footed shot past Brad Guzan.
Dani Ayala would have put the home side ahead at the hour mark but for a desperate stop by Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech.
Boro performed creditably, but find themselves still six points adrift of safety with just six games remaining, and knowing time is running out fast.
Oxlade-Chamberlain laid the blame at his and his team-mates' feet.
"My players were wonderful", said Agnew whose side are second bottom, six points behind 17th-placed Hull City with a game in hand and a vastly superior goal difference.
"The players were fantastic in terms of their effort and commitment and attitude towards the game".
"I couldn't be any more proud of the players".