Jamie Carragher speaks out on Arsene Wenger decision

Boro's status as the lowest scorers in the top four tiers of English football made it hard to see them getting back into the match, but it took just five minutes for them to find an equaliser after the restart as Arsenal once again failed to keep a clean sheet on the road. You could see that one some occasions, we were a bit over-cautious tonight. Hopefully that will give us a bit more confidence.

"Mathematically it is still possible, even if it is hard, but we have to give it a go".

Alexis Sanchez gave the Gunners a lead with a rare piece of quality in an otherwise uneventful first half, but that was cancelled out by Alvaro Negredo early in the second half.

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 tiresome sky by the Tees.

5 - Wenger played a wildcard by starting with a three-man defence for what must be the first time since his first season in charge and despite the win, it didn't really work.

The Gunners headed into Monday's clash at the Riverside Stadium under intense pressure and having won just two of their last eight Premier League games.

"Sometimes when your team lacks confidence, just to have something new to believe helps them to focus. We lost two games against West Brom and Crystal Palace where we had 70 percent of possession, and today we had a bit less".

"We knew we needed to win".

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Speaking to Sky Sports, Wenger said: "You could see we were not playing with full confidence during some moments in the game but overall we wanted to win".

Equally, the visitors could not afford to allow that record to continue if they were to stand any chance of securing a 20th consecutive Champions League berth, although the vastly differing levels of ambition were not apparent for much of the first half. That's why we never gave up.

He told the club's official website: "What we've done previously in the last few games hasn't been good enough".

"I feel we're in a position where we want to perform".

"I felt we might get the second goal after Negredo scored". We pushed them back, and you're just thinking the ball is going to bounce in the right area. Dani's is a knock-down, he's got his head on it and unfortunately it goes straight at Petr Cech", he said."Either side and it's a goal - Dani did everything he could.

Boro still sit in 19th place in the league, six points off 17th placed Hull, and safety, although fans will be encouraged that Boro have a game in hand over some of their survival competitors.

"Obviously we missed an opportunity".

Vanessa Coleman