Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal: Mesut Ozil scores victor

Arsenal headed into the tie seventh in the Premier League and 10 points off the top four, but goals from Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil - either side of an Alvaro Negredo strike - steered them past struggling Boro.

But they remain seven points behind fourth-placed Manchester City in the race for the Champions League, albeit with a game in hand.

Arsene Wenger on Arsenal's hopes of finishing in the top four: "For us, the clarity is there - we have to win every game to have a chance to get in the top four, starting tonight".

Arsenal boss Wenger, when asked if there was any news on his future, said: "No", adding: "I feel we are in a position where we want to perform".

"We need to possess the ball, but occasionally, when a team lacks trust, an adjustment in system might really help them believe in something different". "You could see the players have a good mentality, they wanted to win the game and they responded".

Middlesbrough, with 24 points from 32 matches, are mired in 19th place, six points from safety.

"Second half, we missed the closing ball when we're able to possibly have added one or two more and they created opportunities with crosses and set pieces. To see them [nearly 3,000 Arsenal fans] come all the way up here and support us after a tough time means everything and we need to keep fighting for them". "We knew we'd face a direct game and recently we've been punished on that", Wenger told Sky Sports.

We can't be too downhearted because we should have beat Arsenal but we have not got the points, that's what we have said a lot.

Arsenal, whose last away win came at Swansea on January 14, moved into sixth place. I think we have seven games left now, so it's important for us to take it a game at a time.

ARSENE WENGER made a shock tactical switch to stop Arsenal's away-day rot - then smiled: "That shows that even at my age you can change".

Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain said his team had gone back to basics in their 2-1 Premier League win at Middlesbrough on Monday after recent performances that were not good enough. I tried to help the team-mates to fight the duels and play with the ball.

However, his celebrations after Arsenal's goals on Monday did not look like those of an unhappy player.

  • Julie Sanders