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sábado, 22 de outubro de 2016
Arsenal 0-0 Middlesbrough: Petr Cech stars as Gunners settle for a point - 5 things we learned
The Gunners had won the last seven coming into this game, but a diligent Boro refused to cave in north London
Arsenal's winning run came to an end at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday when they were held to a goalless draw by Middlesbrough.
The Gunners had won the last seven coming into this game, but a diligent Boro refused to cave in north London.
And indeed the visitors could have left with all three points were it not for the heroics of Petr Cech.
Few believed Aitor Karanka's side stood a chance against Arsene Wenger's in-form stars but they were good value for their point.
They celebrated putting six past Ludogorets in midweek with dressing room selfies. You’d have thought they’d have learnt their lesson from last season when they did the same after beating Leicester - and then collapsed in the title race.
Arsenal have been on a great run, Arsene Wenger was celebrating his birthday, the fans were expecting a n easy win as Boro have been struggling.
That’s exactly when you tend to slip up. Especially if you’re getting carried away with selfies.
2. Santi Cazorla is still Arsenal’s key man
Cazorla missed the game because of an Achilles injury. And it’s only when he is missing that you realise that he is the man who makes Arsenal tick.
Arsenal were not the same without him last season when he was injured and Cazorla just controls the tempo, sits and dictates.
Individually, Mohamed Elneny and Francis Coquelin, but Cazorla runs games.
3. Arsenal’s defence is improved - but they always give you chances
Shkodran Mustafi has been a superb signing, he’s combative, strong and is a terrific character.
But rather like against Swansea last week, this Arsenal defence will give you chances. And if it had not been for a combination of woodwork and Petr Cech, Boro would have punished them.
That is probably more to do with the way the team sets up, they are great going forward but invite teams onto them.
Yes, Granit Xhaka and Santi Cazorla were missing, but Arsenal still look vulnerable defensively which ultimately might be their undoing in the title race.
4. Adama Traore is enjoying a new lease of life
He had a nightmare at Aston Villa and it looked like a strange signing for Middlesbrough.
But Aitor Karanka is clearly getting the best out of the 20-year-old former Barcelona prospect.
Traore had pace to burn, caused Arsenal so many problems on the counter attack and is clearly enjoying his football again.
Watch him go at Boro.
5. Middlesbrough will stay up
After losing at home to Watford last week, it was all doom and gloom, predictions of relegation.
But Boro responded brilliantly at Arsenal. Resolute in defence, bright in attack and very well organised.
It’s often how a team responds to adversity which defines them. Clearly, Boro dug in and produced a performance which surely proves there are three worse teams than them in the Premier League.