It’s always fun to take a look back on years gone by, especially when it comes to Arsenal. While the last few years have been questionable, the Gunners are largely considered to be one of the most successful English clubs of the modern era. As such, they’ve been involved in some fascinating matches, with this clash against Middlesbrough from twelve months ago being one of them.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Arsenal have rejected a bid of around £16million from Premier League rivals Crystal Palace for young defender Calum Chambers. However, the reports also suggest that the Gunners are willing to sell the highly rated young defender, but are looking for a fee of closer to £20million.
Chambers has Potential
I have to say I do rate Chambers and it is hard to doubt his talent. However, he maybe needs to play more first-team football before he is ready to play first-team football at Arsenal.
Last season young Arsenal defender Calum Chambers found himself loaned out to Middlesbrough, who were eventually relegated from the Premier League.
The young defender was one of Boro’s most consistent players though and the north east side’s defensive record was not the problem. They went down because they were toothless in attack. Chambers and Ben Gibson formed a very good centre-back pair.
Chambers made 24 appearances for Boro, despite being injured for some of the campaign. His performances suggest that the 22-year-old is now ready to play regular first team football in the top-flight.
Arsenal recorded a 2-1 win at Middlesbrough on Monday night, with goals from Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil enough to seal the victory. It was by no means a pretty one, but as midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain stated after the game they just needed a win.
Arsenal were not at their best and there was a slight nervousness about the Gunners, which is understandable because of their recent away form (four straight defeats).
However, in the end, the Gunners managed to grind out a win, in a fashion that they have struggled to do in the past.
Arsenal ended a run of four straight away defeats in the Premier League by winning 2-1 at Middlesbrough on Monday, courtesy of goals from Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.
Middlesbrough had the first attempt on goal on four minutes, as Grant Leadbitter fired a long-range effort just wide of Petr Cech’s far post. Boro’s Spanish striker Alvaro Negredo was the next one to have a go at goal, firing well wide of Cech’s goal from long-range.
Arsenal travel to the Riverside Stadium to face Middlesbrough in the Premier League on Monday evening, desperate for a win to boost their fledgling hopes of a top-four finish. With four consecutive defeats on the road, Arsenal come into their clash with Boro in poor form and don’t have the best record against the North-East outfit in recent head-to-heads.
Arsenal’s last nine Premier League meetings with Middlesbrough
(10/9/05) Middlesbrough 2-1 Arsenal
(14/1/06) Arsenal 7-0 Middlesbrough
(9/9/06) Arsenal 1-1 Middlesbrough
(3/2/07) Middlesbrough 1-1 Arsenal
(9/12/07) Middlesbrough 2-1 Arsenal
(15/3/08) Arsenal 1-1 Middlesbrough
(13/12/08) Middlesbrough 1-1 Arsenal
(26/4/09) Arsenal 2-0 Middlesbrough
(22/10/16) Arsenal 0-0 Middlesbrough
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.
Arsenal could well have their first-choice shop-stopper and key centre-back back in the squad for Monday’s trip to the Riverside stadium. The Gunners lock horns with relegation-threated Middlesbrough in desperate need of a win, which may result in manager Arsene Wenger throwing in his first-team regulars sooner than he may have wanted.
As for the goalkeeper situation, Emiliano Martinez has been operating between the sticks for Arsenal in recent weeks with David Ospina out with a back injury and Petr Cech suffering from a calf strain. However, the latter cold be returning in time to line up against Boro, with Wenger saying: “I believe that we have a chance of getting Petr Cech back in the squad.”
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted the quest for a Champions League place hung in the balance this season but believes the side have to overcome recent mental barriers to finish in a top-four spot in the Premier League table. He feels the Gunners have been under pressure and restricted in their place recently and wants the confidence and creative freedom to return.
“It’s not been very enjoyable as you certainly know, but bad moments are part of our job as well. You focus to prepare and make sure you respond in a strong way. To play with restriction and a little bit of a handbrake on doesn’t help the performance. We are under pressure to deliver and the best way to do it is to play with freedom and accept the risk,” he said.
Arsenal’s Nacho Monreal badly underperformed in the Gunners’ defeat to Crystal Palace, and Monday’s Premier League meeting with Middlesbrough could result in similar treatment from winger Adama Traore unless he’s adequately protected at the back. It’s an area Arsenal need to replace in the summer, but they have no better alternative until the end of the season which could well be capitalised upon by their opponents.