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Summary

  1. Sanchez scores free-kick; Negredo scores equaliser from close range
  2. Ozil scores Gunners winner from Ramsey lay-off
  3. Arsenal play 3-4-3 formation
  4. Arsenal are now seven points off Champions League places
  5. Boro six points off safety - with one game in hand

Live Reporting

By Tom Rostance

All times stated are UK

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Good night

And that's all from us here tonight. Thanks as ever for your company this Easter and we shall see you tomorrow for CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUARTER FINAL ACTION!

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Rob Holding
Getty Images

Not too much mention of Rob Holding tonight. But he was fantastic. Did not put a foot wrong all game. Calm, composed and assured. Definitely deserves a run in the team now.

Mr Anderson

What next?

Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal

Middlesbrough

Boro are at Bournemouth on Saturday and then host Sunderland on the Wednesday night. It has to be six points from six doesn't it? 

Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal

We mentioned earlier that the Middlesbrough wall for the Alexis Sanchez free-kick was all over the place and replays show that keeper Brad Guzan was fuming both after, and before the ball was struck.

He wanted five in the wall, he had seven. 

'Bitterly disappointed'

Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal

Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough caretaker boss Steve Agnew: "We are bitterly disappointed with the result but the players gave everything they had. We couldn't ask more of them.

"We played on the front foot, put them under pressure. I felt we might get the second goal after Negredo scored. 

"The ball just wouldn't drop in the box for us. We put them under tremendous pressure. 

"We are all disappointing we haven't won the game. If they continue to show that fighting spirit, which I'm sure we will, we'll go down to Bournemouth in reasonable spirits.

"It was a terrific atmosphere. When the Riverside is rocking like that, it's incredible. The players responded.

"We just have to keep the season alive. We need a win and I'm confident we'll get it.

"This group don't know how to give in. They will never, ever stop."

Arsene Wenger also offered no news on his immediate future. 

'Formation adds stability'

Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal

Arsenal

Arsene Wenger
Reuters

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger explains why he went 3-4-3: "I felt it added a bit more stability on the long balls. We faced a direct game and we have been punished a bit on that. It gave the opponents more of the ball. Against Palace we had 70% possession but lost.

"Sometimes we want to have the ball but when a team lacks confidence just to change the system can help believe something different."

As Arsene Wenger says, Arsenal's next game is the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City on Sunday.

It's then champions Leicester, rivals Spurs and Manchester United in a row. 

A big few weeks. 

'A big test'

Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal

Arsenal

Arsenal boss 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."

Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal

Arsene Wenger feels that his side could still have defended better despite the win, particularly from set-pieces. He's right too - Daniel Ayala and Ben Gibson could both have scored. 

'A massive honour to play for this club'

Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal

Arsenal

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
PA

Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: "We have not been good enough, we need to take responsibility for that and today we had to win.

"We had to get back to basics, it's a massive honour to play for a team like Arsenal, you have to give 100% and maybe that's been slipping recently. The formation was something new, a change, but we adapted well to it. It worked well in the first half especially."

'It's good for our confidence'

Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal

Arsenal

Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny on Sky Sports: "It was important to have the three points, we were in a bad situation. We had to come back with quality, it was not perfect but we tried and it's good to come back with the win.

"It's good for confidence, which will come back slowly. We are intelligent, we have experience to play a different system."

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Andy Hook: Wild celebrations from Arsenal as we beat Boro and rise to 6th. You'd think we'd stayed in the title race #howtimeshavechanged

Kassim Patel: Cheers for bringing on Hector and ruining my fantasy gw Arsene 

Thomashollern: At least Boro fans won't have the long journeys down to Brighton and Bournemouth next season. Every cloud has a silver lining 

Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal

Gareth isn't a man to mince his words is he?It doesn't look good for the Boro though. They stay six points behind the safety line with six games to go.

They need five wins and a draw from their last six games just to get to the fabled 40-point mark.

Brad Guzan
Reuters

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Boro were the perfect opponents for an Arsenal team short on confidence. Completely inept, they're going down.

Gareth in Fareham

Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal

Arsenal are seven points off of the top four, with a game in hand. It's the hope that kills you. 

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Steve Downes: Wenger must be a nightmare for owners. Successful manager? Easy. Poor manager? Easy. Manager nearly great but not quite? Hard.

Sahil Oberoi: Arsenal have defended set pieces like a pub side tonight, one that had about six lagers each at half time.

Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal

Mesut Ozil made four tackles tonight - his joint-most ever in a Premier League game, last doing so against Manchester City in December 2015. 

Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal

Alexis Sanchez celebrates with a young Arsenal fan
Reuters

Arsenal end a run of four away defeats in a row and it's their two marquee players who have come up with the goals when they needed them.

The players celebrate in a manner which emphasises how important that win is. Alexis Sanchez literally boots Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain up the backside and then gives his shirt to a child in the crowd.

Boro fans offer some meek applause for their side. Doomed?

FULL-TIME

Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal

Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain now shoots into the side-netting. He has the engine and pace to be the very best but his decision making and finishing leave so much to be desired.

Olivier Giroud then lobs an effort just wide! 

CLOSE!

Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain puts some serious distance in, he's in behind the defence in stoppage time, looking for a cross but instead he shoots, Brad Guzan beats it clear...

INJURY TIME

Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal

FOUR minutes added on. Francis Coquelin goes to the corner and wins neither a free-kick or a corner. The Arsenal fans have been chanting Hector Bellerin's name since he came on.

SUBSTITUTIONS

Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal

Arsenal eat up some clock, ruin some fantasy football teams and scare some supporters all in one. Off come Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, on come Francis Coquelin and Hector Bellerin.

Pick the formation out of that lot...

CLOSE!

Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal

Arsenal just cannot convincingly defend set-pieces! Stewart Downing's ball in is nodded on and Ben Gibson is free four yards out but can only help the ball into the arms of Petr Cech.

That's two great chances the Boro centre-backs have failed to register...

Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal

I think he generally is the best kid in the Arsenal playground though isn't he? 

He blows hot and cold, sure, but Alexis Sanchez has scored a free-kick and unlocked the defence with a fine pass for the second. 

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Alexis Sanchez
AFP

Brent Richardson: Alexis is so often that kid in the playground who thinks he's so much better than the others and then ruins a good move

Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal

Petr Cech is unconvincing as he punches away a corner but from the second ball in Daniel Ayala can only nod down at Cech. Ayala's miss earlier in the second half is starting to look very costly, 

Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal

Arsenal are going to end up with a third on the break, Boro are creaking. Rudy Gestede is booked seconds after coming on for a lazy challenge in midfield, Arsenal play on, Alexis Sanchez finds Olivier Giroud on the edge of the area but he clubs a left-footer well off target. 

Olivier Giroud
Reuters

Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal

Alvaro Negredo has just Boro's third shot on target all night, a snapshot from 18 yards on the spin, good hit but straight at Petr Cech.

Arsenal come away down the other end but it peters out. 

SUBSTITUTION

Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal

Time to go big. Boro chuck on Rudy Gestede and presumably get ready to bombard the penalty area with high balls. In the mixer!

Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal

Daniel Ayala on the stretch, just about toes it away from the waiting Olivier Giroud. Arsenal could get another on the break as Boro chase a way back into the game.

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Ed McKeon: Ozil comes in for a lot of criticism but his passion is undoubted 

Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal

That goal has really sucked the life out of the Riverside. When you don't score very often at all, the prospect of needing three to win a game looks very distant.

There's still time though...

Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal

Another test for Boro then. They again win a free-kick straight from the restart but this time the Arsenal backline stand tall.

Ozil slams home

Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal

Riverside quietened. You have to say that's a fine goal as Alexis Sanchez lofts the ball over the Boro defence, Aaron Ramsey has the awareness to chest the ball down into the path of Mesut Ozil, who lashes home low and hard from 12 yards out.

On his right foot, buried. 

Mesut Ozil celebrates
Reuters

GOAL - Middlesbrough 1-2 Arsenal

Mesut Ozil

Clinical...

Middlesbrough 1-1 Arsenal

That's the ticket. Amazing first touch from Adama Traore, killing a high ball right on the dead ball line, he then tricks his way past two defenders, surges into the area - and falls over!

That's what he's all about. 

Adama Traore and Laurent Koscielny
Reuters

SUBSTITUTION

Middlesbrough 1-1 Arsenal

A long spell of Arsenal possession ends with Mesut Ozil tonking a shot well wide as Gaston Ramirez is replaced by the wildcard Adama Traore.

This guy is up there with the most entertaining players in the league. Anything could happen here. 

Middlesbrough 1-1 Arsenal

A brilliant watch, if not a brilliant standard. Neither side can string five passes together as even Alexis Sanchez keeps pinging passes into a red shirt instead of yellow.

The intensity is ace though. Pace, pace, pace. 

Alexis Sanchez
Reuters