Arsene Wenger admits Top Four finish is hard for Arsenal

Posted April 23, 2017

If Arsenal win their game in hand, they will still be four points behind the Citizens, who occupy fourth place.

"I think due to their pride they made it a hard first half and then when they came back at us and equalised, it was a test for us".

"You could see we were not playing with full confidence during some moments but overall we wanted to win", Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told broadcaster Sky Sports.

As the game grew more open, the gap in talent between the two clubs became more evident and Özil gave the Gunners a 2-1 lead in the 71st minute with a goal made possible by Alexis and Aaron Ramsey.

Wenger opted for a 3-4-3 formation at the Riverside, reportedly the first time since 1997 that the Frenchman has played with three at the back.

However, Mesut Ozil secured the much-needed three points for Arsenal with a first-time strike at the near post. You have a little break from the Premier League now and after the end of the season will come very quickly.

I felt we were recently a bit vulnerable defensively.

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The travelling Gunners uncharacteristically started with three defenders from the start, and were under the cosh early as a bright start from Boro saw them fire three shots goalwards in the opening 15 minutes. "At 1-1 we found a response and managed to win", Wenger added. Overall I felt that it worked quite well because we won the game. "Of course, the opponents had a bit more of the ball than we're used to".

"We needed to head out as well as return to the basic principles and that's making sure our obligation amounts were right". It was good to come back with the win.

Caretaker Boro boss Steve Agnew said: "This is a missed opportunity for us and we realise the size of the task ahead".

Agnew said: "The players were fantastic in terms of their effort and commitment and attitude towards the game". "We're still only six points behind Hull with a game in hand and a terrific goal difference", he said. "They played with such an intensity, I couldn't ask any more of them".