Alexis Sanchez restores faith in footballers with lovely moment after Arsenal game

Although the Frenchman accepted that the display was far from flawless, Wenger was thrilled with the level of commitment from his players, having seen them crumble in a 3-0 loss at Crystal Palace last time out.

He confessed: "What we've done previously has not been good enough". And that's making sure that our commitment levels are right to play for this football club.

With Arsene Wenger experimenting with a 3-5-2 formation for the first time in nearly 20 years, the North London club were expected to at least surprise Middlesbrough but familiar shades mediocrity shone the brightest under the boring sky by the Tees.

Alexis Sanchez curled in a flawless free kick to give the Gunners the lead in the first half, then helped set up Ozil for the victor.

"But when a team lacks confidence changing the system can help to believe in something different".

He said: "I felt that it added a bit more stability on the long balls".

It took drastic measures to ensure those three points were picked up. Against Palace and West Brom, we had 70 per cent of the possession and we lost.

Seven league wins is the only way the Frenchman reckons that Arsenal can secure a Champions League place after ending a run of four away league defeats with a 2-1 victory over struggling Middlesbrough yesterday. "They went direct at the end, but all in all, it was a new system and we've got the three points with it - that's all that matters".

MF Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 7 - Was the most prominent player of the first half for Arsenal; firstly as he was given a torrid time by Fabio and then, after the Brazilian went off with injury, he was liberated and attacked regularly.

The 21-year-old is still adjusting to a step up in class after playing in the Championship last season, but coped admirably last night, suggesting Arsene Wenger may have found a bargain. But their future, they have still one year of contract after [this season] so I don't think there is an urgency about that.

Arsenal travel to Middlesbrough, who are second from bottom, on Monday and will be hoping to get back into the top six by improving their record of one win in their last five league visits to the Riverside Stadium.

"But there was (still) a nervousness there, because when you don't win the confidence goes quickly and comes back slowly". "That shows you that even at my age, you can change", Wenger said after the game when explaining his tactical switch. We were a bit over cautious in situations.

"It worked well in the first half, we didn't give any chances away and we were quite solid on set-pieces".

Vanessa Coleman