Arsenal showed that their Premier League top four finish hopes are still alive and burning with a narrow victory at second-bottom Middlesbrough.
Alexis Sanchez headed the opener with a free-kick gave Arsenal the lead just before the break.
Middlesbrough took on the challenge when Alvaro Negredo equalized 8 mins. after the first goal from Sanchez.
Mesut Ozil however secured the win for Arsenal with a first-time strike at the near post.
The win – only Arsenal’s third in their past nine league games – moves the Gunners up to sixth, seven points behind fourth-place Manchester City and with a game in hand.
Middlesbrough on the other hand remain deep in the relegation zone, six points from safety.
Middlesbrough are the only side in English league football not to have won a league game during 2017.
What the managers said:
Middlesbrough caretaker boss Steve Agnew: “We are bitterly disappointed with the result but the players gave everything they had. We couldn’t ask more of them.
“We played on the front foot, put them under pressure. I felt we might get the second goal after Negredo scored.
“The ball just wouldn’t drop in the box for us. We put them under tremendous pressure.”
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: “We responded well. I think it was not perfect but the commitment and focus was there. At 1-1 we found a response and managed to win.
“It was a big test, Middlesbrough gave everything. It’s one of their last chances to stay in the league.
“It [the top four] is mathematically still alive. We knew we needed to win. Now we have a little break with the FA Cup and then we come back again to the league.
“We have to win every game to have a chance to get in the top four, starting tonight. I think it will make the team a bit more serene.”
Negredo (50′ minutes)
Sánchez (42′ minutes)
Özil (71′ minutes)