Arsenal can expect another tough game when they make their second trop to the north of the country inside five days on Sunday.
Arsenal may have lost a game in Europe to end the club record of 28 games unbeaten, but it’s still 22 games unbeaten in the league for Arsenal. A feat that normally would attract some attention, but considering a certain team went 49 games unbeaten, this run doesn’t yet deserve any comparison.
Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate
thinks his side have an oppertunity to spring a suprise this weekend: ‘You have to start off by being difficult to beat and we’ve been that to a degree.
‘We have to now take that on a stage, we’ve got to try and win matches.
‘It’s a huge test this weekend and one that no one expects us to get much from, so there is an opportunity for us to get something unexpected.’
Arsene Wenger says that it is not just his team that are going to have a tough few months, but that every team has to fight for every point from now till March: ‘We go into a period now from the end of November to March where everybody fights for something.
‘During this period the points are especially hard to get because there is always something at stake.
‘At the end of March it becomes easier to take points, but during these four months you can make a difference.’
Middlesbrough Team News:
Julio Arca (knee) and Robert Huth (ankle) are both back for Gareth Southgate’s team after both suffering from long-term injuries.
Mark Schwarzer could return to action after suffering from a broken thumb.
Former Spurs’ striker Mido is still out with a groin injury.
Player to watch: Stewart Downing
Local boys seem to be doing a job on Arsenal this season. Jesus Navas in Sevilla, Steven Taylor in Newcastle and Steven Gerrard in Liverpool.
His deliveries from set pieces and crosses will keep Toure and Gallas busy.
Arsenal Team News:
Cesc Fabregas (hamstring), Mathieu Flamini (thigh), Alexander Hleb (Achilles), Abou Diaby (back) and Robin van Persie (knee) for Sunday’s trip to Middlesbrough.
Gilberto will be hoping to make another start in midfield alongside either Diarra or Denilson. Although there is a slight chance that his sloppy passing against Newcastle will cost him his place in the team.
Player to watch: Manu Adebayor
Adebayor has found a bit of form again after scoring in 3 of Arsenal’s last 4 Premiership games.
If he plays well then there’s a good chance Arsenal will walk away with the spoils.
I’m going to opt for a draw. Arsenal may be in form at the moment, but ‘Boro are always tough to play against.