On Monday night Arsenal will aim to revive their hopes of finishing in the Premier League’s top four when the Gunners visit Middlesbrough.
The home side are fighting a battle of their own at the bottom of the Premier League table. Steve Agnew’s side are currently 19th in the top-flight and six points away from safety.
However, the north east side still have hope as they have two games in hand on 17th place Hull City and a far superior goal difference. That hope may be slightly negated by the fact that their form has been terrible in recent months.
Boro have failed to win any of their last 14 Premier League games. The strugglers have also failed to win any of their last six home games in the top-flight, although they have picked up draws in four of those outings.
The home side’s biggest problem this season has been scoring goals. Their goal tally of just 22 is the lowest in the English top-flight. In fact, the home side have failed to score in six of their last eight top-flight games.
However, the north east side have the best defensive record of any team outside the top seven this season in Premier League.
Arsenal head into this clash in seventh place and are currently nine points behind fourth-place Liverpool with two games in hand.
The Gunners form has been worrying of late, as Arsene Wenger’s side have won just two of their last eight games in the top-flight.
Winning games away from the Emirates Stadium has also become a problem for the visitors, as they have now lost their last four away games in the top-flight, conceding three or more goals in each of those defeats.
A record of one win, one draw and six defeats on their travels in the Premier League illustrates the Gunners struggles away from home. Wenger’s side will hope for a better display and result on Teesside.
Middlesbrough have a number players doubtful for this clash, including George Friend, Gaston Ramirez and Fabio. On-loan Arsenal defender Calum Chambers is injured but would have been ineligible to face his parent club anyway.
Arsenal are set to be without Spanish duo Lucas Perez and Santi Cazorla and goalkeeper David Ospina through injury. However, Petr Cech and Laurent Koscielny could be recalled to the starting line-up having both been sidelined through injury of late.
Arsenal are favourites to win this clash at odds of 4/7, while the draw is odds of 10/3 and Middlesbrough are odds of 21/4 to record a rare victory.
On paper, this game looks like a favourable one for Arsenal. However, as recent away games have taught Gunners fans the team cannot afford to be complacent on their travels, no matter who they are facing.
Will Arsenal win at Middlesbrough?