By Tony Hughes
Arsenal missed the chance to record seven straight Premier League victories in their game against Middlesbrough on Saturday and solidify their position as Premier League front-runners.
In a game they were expected to win, they could only manage a 0-0 draw with a Boro side that was set up to defend, but sprung a few surprises of their own in a game either side could have won.
Talking after the game, as quoted in The Sun, Arsene Wenger – celebrating his 67th birthday – said that the 6-0 demolition of Ludogorets in the Champions League earlier in the week had a negative effect on his squad.
“We paid a little price for the Champions League on Wednesday,” Wenger said, “but usually when you play at home you would like to win but we could have lost as well in the first half.
“But that’s the modern game if you don’t score early and you’re not sharp or creative enough.
“I have a frustrated face and I am frustrated, we had a lot of the ball but in the modern game that isn’t enough to win the game.
“We had 75% possession but we didn’t have our usual pace and combinations and not enough sharpness in our movement.”
Wenger also thought the absence of creative midfielder Santi Cazorla played a part in his team not being able to break down the Middlesbrough defence.
“We lacked creativity today and you always miss Cazorla, from deep midfield into the final third his passing is always quick and accurate.”
Despite only managing a point, Arsenal are currently top of the Premier League with 20 points.
They’re above Liverpool on goal difference with Manchester City set to play Southampton in the early kick-off on Sunday. A point will be enough to see City go back to the top on goal difference.
In other Arsenal news, Jamie Redknapp has said that this midfielder won’t be at Arsenal for much longer.