Arsenal missed the chance to go three points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table with a goal-less draw at the Emirates against Middlesbrough.
In a game where the guile and trickery of Santi Cazorla was sorely missed, Arsenal dominated possession early but struggled to break down a well organized Middlesbrough team. As a matter of fact, Arsenal were lucky not to go behind themselves.
Elneny sent in a cross towards the back post which Alexis couldn’t convert. Boro broke on a counter after a long ball by Ayala, Negredo flicked the ball into Adama Traore’s path. The Spaniard races into the clear, forcing Cech into a good save, before a rebound from Negredo is palmed to safety by the ex-Chelsea shot-stopper.
If that was a scare the second chance was more than that.
Boro got themselves a free-kick on the left flank, which was wickedly curled towards the top-left corner by the Gaston Ramires. His effort came off the angle of post and bar, with the rebound wasted by Negredo.
Arsenal also had a chance of their own to threaten from a free kick. Arsenal won a free kick close to the area which Alexis Sanchez took, but Valdez was on hand tonpalm it away to safety. Arsenal couldn’t make anything out of the resulting corner.
Arsenal continued to probe in the second half but couldn’t fashion out anything. Ozil, Alexis, Koscielny and Walcott all went close but Valdez was well placed to save their attempts.
We even felt we’d nicked it late on after Ozil touched in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s cross, but not on this day. The goal was correctly ruled out for offside.
Arsene Wenger couldn’t get the required 3 points on his birthday, and, The Gunners will hope this points dropped won’t come to haunt them later in the season.
Attention shifts to the next game against Reading in the League Cup.