Wenger springs a surprise at Middlesbrough


Under fire Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger  sprang a surprise in the away match against Middlesbrough, by opting for a back three for the first time since his early days in charge in 1996.

Well, his tactics paid off as his team ran away with a 2-1 victory ending a run of away losses.

Goals by Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil earned Arsenal the narrow win.

Without a win in four Premier League away matches Arsenal feared the wait would endure when Alvaro Negredo cancelled out Sanchez’s opening goal, but Ozil struck to lift the Gunners to sixth place.

Sanchez free kick unstoppable

Playing in an unfamiliar 3-5-2 formation, Arsenal took the lead on 42 minutes when Sanchez curled in a free-kick following a foul on Granit Xhaka by Adam Clayton.

Boro levelled four minutes after the interval when Stewart Downing picked out Negredo.

The hosts were almost ahead when Daniel Ayala’s header was saved by Petr Cech but Ozil sealed the victory from close range after a lay-off from Aaron Ramsey.

Boro lie 19th, six points from safety.

For the match, Wenger effected   six changes in his team  that lost at Crystal Palace last Monday.

But football pundits said  it was the change in shape which was most noteworthy.

Laurent Koscielny returned to skipper the side after missing two matches with an Achilles injury, alongside Gabriel and Rob Holding, with Shkodran Mustafi unavailable due to a thigh strain.

Petr Cech was also back from injury, starting for the first time since limping off during the first half of the defeat at West Brom.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain started on the right as Hector Bellerin dropped to the bench.

Olivier Giroud was recalled, playing in front of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez – Danny Welbeck missed out with a toe injury.

*From www.premierleague.com and www.arsenal.com