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Arsenal Keep Top Four Hopes Alive With Narrow Victory

Goals from Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil ended Arsenal’s run of four successive away defeats with a scratchy 2-­1 victory over struggling Middlesbrough in their Premier League clash on Monday night.

A dull opening was brought to life when Alexis Sanchez’s superb free-kick gave Arsenal the lead just before the break.

Middlesbrough responded soon after the restart when Alvaro Negredo volleyed in Stewart Downing’s pinpoint cross.

However, Mesut Ozil secured the much-needed three points for Arsenal with a first-time strike at the near post.

The win – only Arsenal’s third in their past nine league games – moves the Gunners up to sixth, seven points behind fourth-place Manchester City and with a game in hand.

Middlesbrough remain deep in relegation trouble, six points from safety.

According to Arsene Wenger: “We responded well. I think it was not perfect but the commitment and focus was there. At 1-1 we found a response and managed to win.

“It was a big test, Middlesbrough gave everything. It’s one of their last chances to stay in the league.

“It [the top four] is mathematically still alive. We knew we needed to win. Now we have a little break with the FA Cup and then we come back again to the league.

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