Premier League Preview: Middlesbrough vs. Arsenal
- Sides drew 0-0 at Emirates on Oct. 22
- Boro winless in five vs. Arsenal
- Arsenal leads all-time 64W-34D-33L
Middlesbrough hopes to congest the race for Premier League safety when it hosts stumbling Arsenal on Monday at the Riverside Stadium (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
This is the first of two matches-in-hand for 18th place Boro, which stands six points back of safety and has been tough to breakdown but unable to produce many goals. No one has scored fewer goals than Boro’s 22, but the Teessiders have allowed the fifth-fewest goals in the PL.
In the case of Arsenal, Arsene Wenger’s bunch is six points back of fifth place Manchester United and 10 back of fourth place Man City. The Gunners have played one fewer match than the Red Devils and two fewer than City, but any further screw-ups will doom Wenger’s Top Four reputation.
What they’re saying
Boro boss Steve Agnew on facing Arsenal: “They’re a really positive group, we’ve had meetings about how we the opposition can play and how we can hurt them when we have possession. Arsene Wenger has done a wonderful job and has brought so much success to Arsenal – they finished runners-up in the league last year and have won the FA Cup twice in recent years. But we have to look at recent form. They’ve conceded goals – especially away from home – and that’s something we’ll look to exploit.”
Arsene Wenger on focusing on football: “We spend a lot of time in our society to focus on things that are superficial and not take care of the essentials. The essential in football is that we have to make sure of one thing. Good players on the football pitch. That’s what we have to take care of.”
This all hinges on the pride of Arsenal. The Gunners will find a way to win if they should heart that matches their talent, but it’s hard to guarantee that now. A dedicated and desperate Boro will make that difficult. 1-0 Gunners.