All is not over for Arsenal as a 2-1 victory over relegation-threatened Middlesbrough helped them keep their top-four hopes alive. The match will also be remembered for Alexis Sanchez’s strike that saw Arsenal become only the second team in EPL history to achieve 3000th away goal.
Following a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace, Arsene Wenger decided to experiment with a 3-5-2 system at the Riverside Stadium to encourage a more resolute display. However, there was not much action in the first half until Sanchez's superb free-kick gave Arsenal a 1-0 lead in the 42nd minute.
Arsenal’s joy didn’t last long as Middlesbrough’s Alvaro Negredo pulled off the equalizer by volleying in Stewart Downing's pinpoint cross just five minutes into the second half. While the game moved towards a stalemate, Mesut Ozil scored his seventh Premier League goal of the season to lead the Gunners to a 2-1 victory.
Speaking about the 3-5-2 play, Wenger said, "Yes, it is the first time in 20 years. That shows you that even at my age, you can change.
"I felt it added a bit more stability on the long balls. We faced a direct game and we have been punished a bit on that. It gave the opponents more of the ball but against Crystal Palace, we had 70% possession but lost."
The defeat left Boro six points from relegation zone while Arsenal ended a four-match losing streak to enter the top-six on the points table.