On paper this looks like a very easy fixture to give Arsenal their eighth win in a row (and Boro’s sixth defeat in a row), but, as everyone says, there is no such thing as an easy game in the Premiership!
Even Arsene Wenger is trying to stop his players from being complacent when he told them: “All their games have been tight,” Le Prof said: “They have technically good players and it’s our third game in a week.
“They have Alvaro Negredo up front, Stewart Downing out wide and their main danger comes from crosses. They are one of the teams who score from crosses the most in the league because they can get on the end of things.
“They have plenty of players in the box. They also have Gaston Ramirez who is a good player, so I believe their danger comes from the people who can finish and get into the box.”
But, having said that, Arsenal are in a rich vein of form and managed to give a few players a rest against Ludgorets in midweek, which seemed necessary when after letting slip a nice lead and struggling to beat Swansea in the end last weekend.
I think that Wenger will be reverting to nearly the same team though, with the only changes being Francis Coquelin in for the banned Xhaka, and Elneny coming in for Santi Cazorla, although there is still a chance the Spaniard will play. I also have a feeling that Gibbs will be played at left-back as Monreal has looked out-of-sorts lately. Obviously Petr Cech will return between the posts.
So here is my predicted line-up….
Bellerin Koscielny Mustafi Gibbs
Walcott Ozil Iwobi
Wenger has suggested that Iwobi could replace Cazorla and if that happens I think Oxlade-Chamberlain should be on the left wing, but I think that would be too much change from last weeks side.
So my prediction? Well, Middlesbrough may be on a long losing run, but they usually only just get beat, with Everton being the only side to beat them by more than one goal.
Arsenal are in tip top form though, and full of confidence, so I’m going for 3-0 to the Gunners. Fingers crossed!