Sanchez and Ozil end Arsenal's 3-month wait for EPL away win
Arsenal's Mesut Ozil celebrates scoring their second goal against Middlesbrough during their Premier League match at the Riverside Stadium on April 17, 2017. [Photo/Agencies]
MIDDLESBROUGH, England — Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil secured Arsenal's first English Premier League win on the road in three months on Monday, with the 2-1 victory at Middlesbrough reviving the London club's tough pursuit of Champions League qualification.
Sanchez curled in a free kick right before halftime that was canceled out at the start of the second half by Alvaro Negredo. Sanchez played a part in Arsenal's match-winner; his cross was chested down by Aaron Ramsey to Ozil, who sealed three vital points in the 71st minute.
Arsenal, whose last away win came at Swansea on Jan. 14, moved into sixth place. Although Manchester City is seven points ahead in the fourth Champions League place, Arsenal has a game in hand with seven still to play.
"You could see we were not playing with full confidence during some moments but overall we wanted to win," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told broadcaster Sky Sports. "Overall, the commitment and the focus was there. When you're in a lack-of-confidence situation you know it comes back slowly and only the results help."Arsenal had won only one of its previous five league games, and Monday's success came after Wenger tweaked Arsenal's formation and set out with a three-man defense.
"I felt that it added a bit more stability on the long balls," he said. "We knew we would face a direct game and recently we have been punished on that.
"Sometimes when a team lacks confidence, just to change a system can help to believe in something different."Middlesbrough's target is just staying in the Premier League, but it is looking more perilous after a loss that leaves the northeast team six points from safety with six games remaining.
"This group doesn't know how to give in, they will never, ever stop," caretaker Middlesbrough manager Steve Agnew said. "We needed to play forward a little bit earlier, and I thought we did that, and when we scored I thought we would start to put them under pressure.
"We conceded again which put us on the back foot but we still had chances when the ball went into the box at the back end of the second half."