Arsenal and Middlesbrough fail to score in exciting encounter

Middlesbrough made the long trip down to North London to take on Arsenal, and were surely happy to go home with a point. The Gunners only made forced changes from the line-up which faced Swansea last weekend, with Santi Cazorla and Granit Xhaka, out through injury and suspension, being replaced by Mohamed Elneny and Francis Coquelin.

The game started brightly, with both sides looking to push up the pitch and play attacking, but in the opening 25 minutes, the most clear-cut chances were from set pieces. Boro cracked the woodwork from a sublime free kick by Gaston Ramirez, shortly before Alexis Sanchez forced a super save from Victor Valdes from a similar distanced free kick at the other end.

The rest of the half was not as equal however, with the visitors putting us under immense pressure, with Adama Traore utilising his pace and skill to stretch us at the back, and a creative turn gave him the space to whip in a cross, which Ramirez couldn’t put past Cech from close-range.

We had a short spell where we could have nicked a goal before the interval, but we will have to consider ourselves lucky to have made it to the break on level on terms, with Petr Cech certainly being our player of the match thus far.

Front the off in the second-half, we were all over the Northern side, and could easily have scored twice in the opening five minutes.

Alexis Sanchez looked to have gifted Laurent Koscielny a tap-in, only for the ball to escape him, and then the Chilean put a powerful free-kick just past the inside of the post, but the game was now looking much more positive from our point.

Alexis again pushing forward, turns sweetly to create space for a shot, and forces Victor Valdes into action again.

Against the run of play however, Adama Traore sprints down the other end on the counter, and forces Cech once again to keep us level. The Teesiders started to build themselves back into the game after their latest chance, and began to challenge us once again.

There were then few really clear-cut chances going up to the 80th minute, but had all the build up for an exciting end to the match, with many struggling to understand how this game had got to this point without a goal.

We continued to press on in search of that winning goal, and Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka clearly had visions of stealing the points also, as he made a change up front. Their change failed to see them create a chance however, but we looked to have nailed the win in injury time, only for it to be ruled out for offside.

We had our chances to win today’s game, and the likely man of the match award will go to Victor Valdes, although Cech himself played a huge role in today’s result, which could easily have gone down as a loss.

Did we deserve to win today? Did last week’s struggles v Swansea set-up this encounter?

Pat J

Tags Arsenal Middlesbrough

53 Comments

  1. Twig says:

    One word: Olivier Giroud.

    1. bayjerkoff says:

      From the 1st 10mins I knew we will struggle just like in burnley game. You mite not like Giroud here but he scores against teams like this, he opens up some incredibly frustrating match, we can not win the league playing the same pattern against every team.

      the last time we played boro, giroud scored a brace. A disappointing game, we should be winning games like this because all other top teams will
      .

      1. Twig says:

        Giroud would have been perfect for this game, even if coming from the bench. I keep telling people not to think we’ve finally solved our striker issues with Alexis Sanchez. He will do well in some games and will struggle in some games.

    2. muda says:

      Not only him,
      What we needed was:
      1 Giroud
      1 Santi
      +1 luck.
      Unfortunately he had non of the above.
      It is not the end of the world anyway.

    3. RSH says:

      a controversial figure, but we 100% need him if we want to win the league

  2. Adienl says:

    Wenger said after the Burnley game that Giroud is needed for games where teams sit back as bowling pins. So, where is Mr.Giroud? Is he injured?
    Of course, I mean that he should’ve been used as an impact sub, and not a starter. I’m sure the data supports the assertion that Giroud should’ve been brought on as a sub.
    I don’t care if you hate him.

    1. Ramterta says:

      A lucky point tbf.
      We were really poor.
      I really didnt think we were going to maul them as most people were predicting due to the number of games we had played this week.
      But this was terrible.And such a performance raises questions on our readiness to fight for the title

      1. Adienl says:

        I didn’t see a lack of commitment, desire, etc. Nor was it that they didn’t try enough. But Boro players were like 5 meters away from their goalie, and our front 4 can’t win headers unfortunately. Axiomatically, there was negligible space to make runs into or to play the ball. The only player who could’ve made a probable difference was Giroud and to an extent, Welbeck. I don’t see a lot of fault in our players, except possibly a few individual errors, which will happen from time to time, and really can’t be helped.

  3. Juhislihis McLovin says:

    That’s third consecutive Premier League match where we have not been impressive at all. Difference today was we didn’t manage to score. Swansea, Burnley.. in both we were in trouble and displayed major weaknesses.

    We are playing crosses from the flank and long balls for our 169 cm tall CF, what’s the logic behind that? I saw Sanchez win ZERO headers, wonder why..

    Elneny is very cautious as a player, which is NOT what we need from a Santi replacement. Hope Cazorla returns soon. Also, Giroud. Hope he will play soon.

    Cech MOTM, M’borough had the better chances and probably deserved to win. All in all my verdict is that today we BOTTLED it, at home, against a relegation team.

    1. Twig says:

      Elneny and Monreal disappointed me massively today. Monreal couldn’t even get a cross through. Elneny, I don’t even know what his role on the pitch was. He’s too cautious and that’s why he’s not getting games.

      1. gmv8 says:

        Yep – think I would’ve pulled Monreal off for Gibbs – he didn’t seem to be coping at all well.

    2. RSH says:

      been saying that about Elneny forever. He has no role, his passes are 2 feet. New Arteta, but more pointless.

  4. Dee@ease says:

    Disappointing game this is a champions league hangover,if we really want to challenge for the title we can’t be dropping easy points

  5. Budd says:

    We better have an answer to this in the next games because this is what every team coming to Emirate will do. Just saying.

    1. Adienl says:

      The answer is Giroud as a substitute. Not saying it will work with 100% probability, but it’s the best for us. So where is he?

      1. Juhislihis McLovin says:

        He’s probably injured..

      2. bran99 says:

        Giroud is not the answer, Barca have short forwards (MSN) and I never heard them needing a Giroud type of striker.. tactics should be improved in such matches, whether with Giroud or without him, every match can be winnable with the right tactics

        1. Adienl says:

          That’s a false equivalence. Barca’s players have more technical ability to work efficiently in very tight spaces. Ours’ are not as good as them.
          Of course every game is winnable, but using the right individuals will increase the probability of securing a win. It will be a good exercise to compare how our team fares against Boro in 100 simulations with and without Giroud. And, I will prefer that Giroud be brought on as a sub.

        2. Wilshegz says:

          Suarez isn’t short and Messi is one who can create a moment of magic at anytime.
          .
          also even they struggle against Bus-parking teams, why Chelsea n ATM know how to beat them when it matters most.

    2. ThirdManJW says:

      @Budd

      Teams have been doing this ever since the Emirates move, and in 10 years, Wenger hasn’t found the answer, so don’t expect him to anytime soon.

  6. We missed Cazorla so bad and Monreal cant cross, but this happens every time we have chance to get infront of our rivals, so frustrating !!

  7. Fatboy Gooney says:

    No doubt that Wenger will state that we were tired today lol ?
    But the truth is that Middlesbrough turned up with a decent game plan whereas our mob thought that all they needed to do was just turn up for this game. Nevermind, tbh, we can count ourselves lucky that we didn’t lose today ? hey! we are top of the league for now… How’s that for being positive? ?

    1. bran99 says:

      For sometime, but yeeeey

  8. Adienl says:

    We’re almost unbeatable when the game is more open. Our pace and precise passing takes care of that in most games. We struggle with teams that play football in just their effin penalty box. None of the front 4 is good enough to battle it out physically. Clearly the only people who can actually work out are Giroud and Welbeck. Giroud is a great impact substitute, especially in games such as today’s.
    According to past data it was always going to be difficult to win such a game without Giroud being deployed. And today is another statistic for missing out on a win.

    1. Juhislihis McLovin says:

      And when the team parks the bus against us, we will have 1, maybe 2 actual chances the whole game. Today it was the empty goal which Sanchez missed to play for Koscielny. That was the only real chance to win it. Plenty chances to lose it though..

      1. Adienl says:

        That is expected. At the premier league level I suppose the opposition will be competent enough to execute their gameplan with high precision. Also we must note that our forwards are not effective in physical battles, which adds to the difficulty of winning the tie.

    2. Fatboy Gooney says:

      We had over 70% of possession yet Middlesbrough had 9 shots on target and 3 off target compared to our 10 on and 6 off target.
      Middlesbrough turned up for this game with a decent counter attacking system, so don’t make out that they sat behind the ball all afternoon.
      If wasn’t for Cech, we would have lost this one.

      1. Adienl says:

        Our possession was rendered useless because boro sat back most of the game. It’s a very effective tactic if done right and they did it right. But, we didn’t lose because we’ve a great goalkeeper. It could’ve been that either of the teams have won, but we clearly needed Giroud to increase our chances.

        1. gmv8 says:

          Their goalkeeper made more good saves than Cech. Their goalkeeper was more instrumental keeping them in the game, than cech was keeping us in the game, just through the saved number of shots, and awkward positions he got them out of.

      2. Goonsquad8 says:

        @ fatboy
        Clearly you have no idea what counter attacking means you think a team is gonna sit 10 behind the ball ALL game? Of course there gonna go forward when they have the chance going forward 10 seconds at a time doesn’t mean they didn’t sit behind the ball all afternoon Jesus

  9. tweety says:

    thanks to cech, motm – we have no lb monreal is hopeless not today but always. sanchez kept the ball too much, walcot is what he is don’t know how he starts. iwobe keeps the ball too much and like to dribble one too many. I rather stop here. sorry but we are surely not champion contenders. – goner for ever

    1. NY_Gunner says:

      @tweety
      Monreal always gets hard done by. The kid Iwobi is devoid of defensive know how. And in all fairness, he should have been the one bringing down those long balls, since he’s the tallest forward player. Sanchez holds onto the ball to draw in defenders, hoping one of the other forwards would run into space created…
      Lucas should have started on the left.
      At least we didn’t lose….

  10. Uzi Ozil says:

    Real fans criticise constructively. Fake fans start to mourn when we lose or draw a game. We want to win all games but we will draw some and lose some but we want to win more.

    Yes, this kind of game need Giroud. But that doesn’t guarantee that we will win all games with him starting. We lose some with him last season and won some.

    Anyway, wanted to win as Spurs drew but let’s look ahead. The one point could prove to be vital. The season is really tough. Any team can defeat any one.

    1. Twig says:

      Whoever said we will win all games with Giroud starting??

    2. Adienl says:

      I’m sure nobody assets that using Giroud would’ve guaranteed a win. But, bringing him on as a substitute when the opposition had tired would’ve been the best chance. Also, I reckon the past data will support this claim.

  11. Wayne Barker says:

    Very poor. Boro deserved to win and we escaped big time once again. Sorry to say but apart from the chelsea game we have hardly looked great. We have been riding our luck , but performance have failed to improve. Better teams will punish us. A huge disappointment.

  12. HA559 says:

    Cech couldn’t save all three points because we didn’t score.

    The moves need to be quicker if you want to open teams like this. Start of the 2nd half were were playing good and right in the end. I don’ know why we were sending longballs in. The one player that plays the best long ball is suspended (manager din’t appeal). Xhaka could’ve maybe opened them up better with longballs.

    But your luck runs out, we’ve been riding that for a few games in the league this season.

  13. gotanidea says:

    Traore’s speed could only be matched by Bellerin. He was much faster than our other defenders. Arsenal should be more prepared when they are against this type of player.

  14. Onochie says:

    Cech saved us today,some players didn’t turn up today,would have given Giroud 20 mins in the second half,wonder what type of “toe” injury that’s keeping him out for so long. The only positive is that we didn’t loose

  15. chinaka1 says:

    No need for any negativity pals
    our players gave their all but couldn’t grab the maximum point
    looking forward to the next game EFL cup on Tuesday
    #COYG

  16. AndersS says:

    Very disappointing. Apart from the last 15 min., we never looked like a team with the desire needed to win the league. Whether it is the players fault or because the manager failed to install the winning mentality, is impossible to say. But without it, we will not win anything in the long run.

  17. Dennis says:

    We are not entitled to win every game and players are only human so they can have a bad day at the office. In the end it didn’t cost us because they sure as hell could’ve scored 3 today but cech saved the day and we got away with a point here. The only thing i would like to see is our players shoot when they receive the ball from 15 yards, just belt it, next time the defender will react and you can squeeze by him but when the opposition knows you will only pass side to side they only move side to side.

    Giroud might come back in the EFL game and ramsay back for sunderland so sunny days ahead dear gunners.

    1. PJ says:

      Not entitled to win every game? Not if we want to win the league mate!

  18. Wayne Barker says:

    Apart from mustafi, all other signings have been below par. Why have we even bought Perez , if giroud is still considered as the go to guy. I thought the reason arsenal got Perez was to challenge giroud and not to play as a back up. Our squad depth is bad, although we have bodies to put in but we look very thin .

  19. HA559 says:

    We should’ve also drawed against Burnely and Soton as we got luck in those games.

  20. Arsenal_Girl says:

    I am disappointed but not too disappointed
    I was hoping we win all 4 Home matches in a row but it wasn’t meant to be

    At least we didn’t lose and we can make up for it
    Its a disappointing result but not the end of the world
    We must beat Sunderland away to not drift too far from the top

    But Reading first
    If Wenger doesn’t play Giroud on Tuesday then something is majorly wrong

    This game was PERFECT for Giroud as a target and Ariel man
    Last season Giroud scored more headed goals than ANY Premier League Player
    He was the PL sixth best scorer with 16 goals and
    Had an excellent summer with France

    Giroud is not a bad Plan B
    But WHY does Wenger continue to not use him especially in a match that is suited to him?
    Is it something personal on Wenger’s part?
    What’s the reason?

  21. sAMa says:

    Speechless ?

  22. RSH says:

    Im okay with the result. Can’t win them all. Let’s just do better than next time. Still haven’t lost since opening day. COYG!

    1. RSH says:

      and thank you Cech for bailing us out mutiple times, top keeper

  23. psytripps says:

    What amuses me is all your comments ref our poor performance was AW fault but when we play well its the team whom gets the credit.

    We would’ve lost this type of game last yeat.

    1. Goonsquad8 says:

      I hate the “fans” on this site

  24. k klin says:

    Last season Arsenal would have lost this match big time…how’s that for some positivity.

  25. Wilshegz says:

    admittedly, we did miss Cazorla and playing Elneny and Coq is like operating with two DMs cos they both lack creativity but even with Cazorla we almost got the same result against Burnley.

    I think they’re presently 3 best teams in EPL: Liverpool,City and Arsenal and they all have one weakness which is against Bus-parking teams.
    the team that can discover a way round such teams could win the title.
    Liverpool’s use outside the box shots often n it helps them against such teams xcept the opposition GK is in top form.

    we as well could use that with our best shooters: Xhaka,Cazorla,Ramsey combined with the crossing game with our best headers: Giroud,Welbeck

    subbing in Xhaka,Ramsey against such team and (as much as I hate to admit it) bringing in Giroud aerial ability in 2nd half of such games were penetration is impossible is the solution against such teams.

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