Date: 17th April 2017 at 10:45pm
Written by: Vital Boro

Middlesbrough are still six points away from immediate safety with a 2-1 defeat to Arsenal at the Riverside.

The Gunners went in front just before the break from Alexis Sanchez’s well-struck free-kick, although Alvaro Negredo soon equalised when turning in Stewart Downing’s early second-half cross.

However, Mesut Ozil duly restored the visitors’ advantage, claiming what proved the winner with nineteen minutes remaining.

The Teessiders were able to welcome back both Fabio and Gaston Ramirez to their starting line-up, while George Friend also returned on the bench.

Arsene Wenger’s side had early claims for a penalty as Daniel Ayala wrestled with Olivier Giroud at a corner – that in between home midfielder Grant Leadbitter twice trying his luck.

French striker Giroud was soon threatening again at the other end before Boro playmaker Marten de Roon had the ball in the net – only from an offside position.

But when Adam Clayton brought down Granit Xhaka with just four minutes of the opening half remaining, Sanchez clinically despatched the free-kick for an interval lead.

Relegation-threatened Boro weren’t behind for long, though, with Negredo getting on the end of Downing’s early second-half cross and prodding a close-range equaliser.

Downing was then too high with a rising effort before his set-piece was headed back by early substitute Friend – on for the injured Fabio – and Ayala appeared set to turn it in until the ball was scrambled away.

Home keeper Brad Guzan was next tested by German midfielder Ozil, who still drove what proved the winner after Aaron Ramsey chested down Sanchez’s 71st minute cross.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could even have added a third goal for the visitors after Negredo’s effort lacked sufficient force at the opposite end.

Middlesbrough: Guzan, Barragan, Ayala, Gibson, Fabio (Friend 17), Clayton, de Roon (Gestede 79), Leadbitter, Ramirez (Traore 68), Negredo, Downing

subs (unused): Konstantopoulos, Bernardo, Bamford, Forshaw

Goals: Negredo (50)

Arsenal: Cech, Gabriel, Koscielny, Holding, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Xhaka, Monreal, Ozil (Bellerin 90), Sanchez (Coquelin 90), Giroud

subs (unused): Gibbs, Walcott, Iwobi, Martinez, Elneny

Goals: Sanchez (42), Ozil (71)

Ref: A. Taylor

Att: 31,298


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