EPL 2016/17: Arsenal 0-0 Middlesbrough - 5 talking points
Arsenal were held to a goalless draw by Middlesbrough on Arsene Wenger’s 67th birthday to halt the Gunners’ six-match winning run in the English Premier League. The North London outfit dominated possession – ending the game with 75% possession – but failed to exhibit the required penetration to break down Aitor Karanka’s side.
Arsenal have moved up to the top of the Premier League table, for the time being, with 20 points from 9 games but will rue that they could not secure all the three points despite dominating possession. The newly promoted side, on the other hand, had plenty to look forward to with Gaston Ramirez and Adama Traore particularly impressing.
It looked like the Gunners had sealed the 3-points in stoppage time when Mesut Ozil poked the ball home from close distance only to be correctly ruled out for offside by the linesman.
Here are the major talking points from Arsenal’s 0-0 draw against Middlesbrough:
#1 Arsenal lacked creativity in midfield
It was evident by the end of the game that Arsenal – despite their mammoth possession – were unable to provide any kind of penetration through the middle. While Francis Coquelin and Mohammed Elneny are excellent holding midfielders, it is naive to expect any kind of creativity from the two.
Santi Cazorla’s absence was dearly felt as Wenger’s side probed and probed but failed to find a way past the resilient defence of Karanka’s side. The Spaniards quick feet and the ability to prong accurate balls forward was clearly missed as the Arsenal midfielders looked bereft of ideas. Ozil did drop deep to help out his side but ultimately it was a futile effort as the Gunners were held to a 0-0 draw.