Arsenal end away skid with 2-1 triumph over Middlesbrough

Is Real Madrid set to lose Karim Benzema to Arsenal's record summer offer

Is Real Madrid set to lose Karim Benzema to Arsenal's record summer offer

But while their top-four ambitions remain a long shot, with the Gunners now seven points short of fourth-placed Manchester City, boasting a game in hand, Arsenal did everything within their power to not lose further ground to the league's leading pack.

And the decision was all about boosting confidence, Wenger admitted, as he saw his side move up to sixth, seven points off but with a game in hand over fourth-placed Man City.

"For us, the clarity is there, we have to win every game to have a chance of getting in the top four, starting tonight".

"We can do that, but also we will have to - had we not won against Middlesbrough I would have conceded that the top four was beyond us".

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"I went with three at the back to give more reassurance to the team especially as we were up against a team which we thought might have played a direct game".

Wenger said: "It is the first time in 20 years [playing three at the back] - that shows you that even at my age you can change".

"Arsene Wenger may have thrown the new system in and sometimes it just sparks something".

The 23-year-old further added, "In recent weeks it's not gone well for us and to see our fans travel all the way up here on a Monday night, it means everything for us, for them to stand by us".

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One of the many criticisms of the Arsenal team over the last few years has been the perceived lack of leaders on the pitch and afterwards on NBC former Gunner Lee Dixon asked Wenger to tell him who the leaders were in the dressing room.

"I felt there was nervousness there in the way we played here". And that's making sure that our commitment levels are right to play for this football club.

"We haven't been blown away by too many". We were a bit over cautious in situations. "So that was the first thing we needed to get back to tonight", Oxlade-Chamberlain told Sky Sports, before paying tribute to the travelling away supporters for standing by the team.

"The end of the season will come very quickly and it is up to us to finish strongly".

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"I couldn't be any more proud of the players". We need a win and I'm confident we'll get it. "They gave every single ounce of energy that they had throughout the 94 minutes".

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