Arsenal travel to The Riverside Stadium to play interim boss Steve Agnew’s Middlesbrough side in the return of the fixture the 2 sides played out to a rather uneventful 0-0 draw back on Saturday October 22nd of 2016. Back then Aitor Karanka was still the boss of the Boro and he was replaced by Steve Agnew after Boro had been unable to simply put the ball in the back of the net even after signing Patrick Bamford on a permanent deal from Champions Chelsea.
Boro had fought throughout the season to avoid slipping into to the bottom 3 but in recent weeks their results and in particular their lack of goals have seen them look increasingly like favourites for the drop as strikers like Jordan Rhodes, Rudy Gestede, Patrick Bamford, Alvaro Negredo and others have just not been able to bulge the twine.
The game will see Arsenal play their second Monday night game in row after their shocking 3-0 defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace last Monday night were Palace were by far the better side and Palace were worthy winners.
For the 1st time since April 1995 Arsenal have lost four successive Premier League away games during Arsene Wenger’s tenure at the club. You have to go all the way back to December 26th 1984 to find when Arsenal lost 5 successive Top division matches. The only Gunners who were actually still breathing the last time this happened are Santi Cazorla at a mere 13 days old and a toddler named Petr Cech who was a mere toddler are 2 years and 220 days old so you can see that if the losing away losing streak hits 5 games it will really be something.
There is no dressing it up – Arsenal have a dismal record over the past 8 games played – incredibly only West Ham (with 5 points), Sunderland (with 4 points) and Middlesbrough themselves (with 3 points) are the only teams to have secured fewer points than Arsenal over that spell – pretty dismal reading.
Boro due to their ineptitiude in front of goal are the least threatening team in front of goal in the Premier League this season; scoring a mere 22 goals and attempting only 78 shots on target in 31 games hich is a paltry less than 3 shots a game on average.
Amazingly Middlesbrough are unbeaten in their last 4 Premier League home games against Arsenal having won 2 and drawn 2 although the 2 sides have not played at the Riverside since way back in December 2008.
All stats really do point towards an Arsenal win despite the poor form of the Gunners lately – just looking at another couple of gems:
- Arsenal’s 7-0 win over Middlesbrough in January 2006 is their joint-largest margin of victory in Premier League history (alongside 7-0 v Everton in May 2005).
- Middlesbrough have conceded more goals against Arsenal than against any other opponent in the Premier League (62 in 29 games).
- Prior to the 0-0 draw in this season’s reverse fixture, Arsenal had scored in 16 consecutive Premier League games against them, winning 10 of those (D4 L2).
So the bottom line is that Middlesbrough are the least threatening side in front of goal in the Premier League this season and they have only managed to score a miniscule 22 goals while attempting an extremely modest 78 shots on target in their 31 games which computes to less that 3 shots per game.
So looking forward to Monday night’s game this is as good as a chance as Arsenal will have to break out of their slump and bang some much needed goals in if they hope to rebuild confidence and have any chance of making a late season run for the top 4 places. Boro are a team in deep trouble and the Gunners need to take advantage and display that killer instinct and score a hatful of goals to bring the feelgood factor back to the squad and to ignite some passion which has been lacking for far too long at the Emirates.
We think that Arsenal will finally break free from the shackles of poor form and deliver a performance full of goals and skills with the unfortunate Boro side on the receiving end of a 4-0 hammering as Aaron Ramsey, Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott will deliver some long over due goals for the Gunners .