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Mesut Ozil’s second-half strike secured an unconvincing 2-1 win for Arsenal away to relegation-threatened Middlesbrough that keeps their top-four hopes alive.
The Germany international’s seventh Premier League goal of the season sealed the victory after Alvaro Negredo had cancelled out Alexis Sanchez’s stunning set-piece opener.
Arsene Wenger’s side slumped to a 3-0 defeat to Crystal Palace last time out, prompting the manager to experiment with a 3-5-2 system at the Riverside Stadium – with Rob Holding in a back three – in an effort to encourage a more resolute display.
Chances were scarce in a poor first half, but Sanchez swept in a fine free-kick to break the deadlock just before the break, only for Negredo to equalise five minutes into the second half.
Boro had produced a spirited performance, but Ozil finished a clever team move in the 71st minute to put the visitors back in front, and they held firm in the closing stages to claim a win that moves them back to within seven points of the top four.
The defeat leaves Boro six points from safety, with only six matches left to play, while Arsenal snapped a four-match losing streak on the road in the top flight