Paul Merson states his prediction for Middlesbrough v Arsenal

Cape Town - Middlesbrough boss Steve Agnew couldn't fault his players for their effort at the Riverside on Monday night where they pushed Arsenal all the way before losing 2-1.

"We've played against teams and we have been in most games and have been pipped by that extra bit of quality that we need to have".

"There are more points to play for and nobody in the bottom three is pulling up trees and running clear".

Middlesbrough may be without a League win since the middle of December, but they have been securing many home draws and are desperate to finally get a win under their belts as they try to claw their way out of the relegation zone.

Valdes' list of honours includes World Cup and European Championship winners' medals with his country as well as three Champions League successes and six La Liga titles as a Barca player. We have to keep believing and keep the chin up.

"You don't win and achieve like Victor Valdes has done in his career without being focused every day", he added. They did hold Arsenal to a draw at the Emirates, though, so we think they'll come into this one with high hopes.

"It's going to be tough, we know that", he said.

Level at 1-1 after Alvaro Negredo had cancelled out Alexis Sanchez's first-half free-kick, central defender Daniel Ayala saw goalkeeper Petr Cech turn away his 61st-minute header from point-blank range, setting the stage for Mesut Ozil to clinch victory for the visitors. "We have to win probably all our games to get into that".

The Englishman is now a cornerstone in Middlesbrough's side, and has been one of very few performers for Boro in a season to forget.

Despite the result, Arsenal's chance of finishing in the top four remain slim.

"As I've just said to them, we'll start to prepare tomorrow and we go to Bournemouth ready".

  • Julie Sanders