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Almunia – 7 – He showed today how much we missed him. Despite being out for some time, he did not let it show. A very solid performance and that save to deny Aliadiere was just world class. It’s great to have him back for the semi final against Manchester United.

Eboue – 7 – Good enough. It was a good decision of Arsene to play Eboue at right back ahead of Sagna as the latter was very poor in the mid-week. His passing was good and he had a wonderful assist as well (No wonder why Wenger called him ‘Pass Master’!). But he was looking too eager to go forward which can leave a gap at the back.

Toure and Silvestre – 7 – Hardly had anything to do but when they did they did not put a foot wrong.

Gibbs – 7.5 – Yet another superb performance. The youngster is impressing everyone with surprisingly good performances. He knows when to go forward, making aggressive runs; links up quite well with Arshavin and hardly lets anyone past him when defending.

Nasri – 6.5 – He can put in decent tackles like he showed today but I prefer an attacking role for him. He did give away the ball a few times today. But still not a bad performance.

Denilson – 6.5 – Short passes all match but it’s good because he doesn’t have enough quality for through balls and long passes that the likes of Fabregas, Arshavin and Nasri do. But he was the holding midfielder and did his job well enough today. Still I feel Song is better.

Arshavin – 8 – Pure class. To come to the Premier League, then put up such world class performances in every single match is just amazing. Hats off to the lad.

Fabregas – 8.5 – He is just too good. His range of passing, vision and he even showed some cool finishing today. Amazing.

Walcott – 6.5 – He is always a constant threat to the opposition but sometimes his decision making lets him down. Passing the ball when he should be taking the defender on or the other way around . Also his first touch is quite poor at times and he needs to improve his crossing. No one is going to head crosses that come at 100 miles an hour. But he has immense talent no doubt about that so he will learn. His ability to take on defenders is a big big asset.

Bendtner – 7 – He worked really hard today. But he is a forward so he should play where the forward is supposed to be and not shift to the wing too often. Still it was one of the better performances from the young Dane.

Substitutes:

Djourou – 7 – He was good enough. Maybe because he hardly had anything to do! I would prefer him over Silvestre anytime, especially on Wednesday against Manchester United.

Diaby – 6.5 – Got a little time but he was quite intent on going forward an troubling the Boro defence. I know most wont agree but I rate him higher than Denilson.

Adebayor – 5 – Looked very rusty after returning from some time out due to injury. Couldn’t threaten the defence or keeper and wasted a good opportunity because of a poor touch.

Arsene Wenger has finally defeated Gareth Southgate! Yet another impressive performance from the Gunners as they cruised to a 2-0 victory over Middlesbrough and extended their unbeaten Premier League run to 20 matches.

To add to that Arsenal broke a 107 year old record by keeping a clean sheet for the 8th consecutive home match in the League.

The Arsenal manager went for nearly the same line-up that played at Anfield making just one obvious change. Fit-again Almunia replacing Fabianski in goal.

The first opening came after just 8 minutes as Fabregas picked out Walcott’s run with a delightful through ball. But the young Englishman’s first touch wasn’t the best and eventually his shot was closed down by Huth.

Arsenal continued to press and soon had a beautiful move but only the finishing was lacking. Fabregas, Arshavin and Bendtner involved. Eventually Gibbs was found inside the box by Fabregas but the youngster was crowded out by Boro defenders.

Arsenal’s domination continued and it was no surprise when they broke the deadlock after just 26 minutes. The move started at the half way line. Fabregas found Bendtner who returned the ball with a skillful flick. The Arsenal captain then sent the ball for Arshavin to chase on the left flank and continued his own run. He recieved a cut back from Arshavin just inside the box and took the shot first time. Bottom corner! 1-0 to the Arsenal!

Walcott then had the next real chance but his decision making let him down as he sent in a half cross-half shot when he should have given the ball to Bendtner who was unmarked in a goal scoring position.

Middlesbrough ended the half with their first real chance as Downing had a long range effort comfortably saved by the diving Almunia.

Arsenal were clearly the better side in the first half but 1-0 goal leads are too slender so they just needed a goal in the second half to kill the game.

Middlesbrough knew they had to get a goal quickly and Aliadiere nearly gave them that or at least should have given them that. Superb ball from Downing found the former Arsenal forward through on goal but his finish was expertly denied by the outstretched left leg of Almunia. Surely it would have 1-1 had Almunia not been fit today!

Next chance fell to Arsenal. Fabregas and Eboue combined to pick out Walcott whose first time shot was well saved by Jones.

Boro were looking for a goal and again had a decent effort denied by Almunia but their defence was soon ripped apart by Eboue.

On 67 minutes Eboue sent a typical Fabregas through ball to send Fabregas one on one with the keeper. Jones needlessly came forward. Fabregas took a touch to the right to get away from Jones and finished it into the empty net. It was not an easy finish as the angle was tight and there were two defenders there to stop it but Fabregas kept his cool to finish like a striker.

After that there were a few chances to make it 3 for Nasri and Bendtner but neither of them could take it.

2-0 it ended and a win Arsenal thoroughly deserved. A nice little warm up for the Champions League semi final on Wednesday.

There were a few notable things today.

Silvestre was taken off at half time for a slight back problem. It was a precationary measure and it gives me a bad feeling he will be started against Manchester United ahead of Djourou. I hope not though!

Walcott’s needs to improve his decision making. Sometimes he sends in crosses at 100 miles an hour when he can easily pick out a team mate with a more ‘normal’ cross.

Nasri was played at an interesting position today. Seemed more like a holding midfield role so he could’t express himself while attacking today as much as he is capable of. But that shouldn’t be the case against United as he will most probable be deployed on the left flank because Arshavin wont be available.

Gibbs, Fabregas and Arshavin were all exceptional today. Gibbs is showing is one the best left backs in the making. Sound defensively and dangerous going forward. What else do you want from a wing back!

Relegation threatened Middlesbrough will visit the Emirates in the afternoon kick off. It seems an easy tie considering they have been having a very poor season and are locked in the relegation battle.

Arsenal are unbeaten in 19 League matches and have just come from a dramatic 4-4 draw at Anfield. Apart from that draw it had been 10 straigtht wins for the Gunners.

On the other hand Middlesbrough’s latest results aren’t any different from those all season. DLLWD. No wonder why they are 18th in the table.

But it’s a fact Middlesbrough have been tough opponents for Arsenal in the past 3 seasons irregardless of their form. They have the best record against Arsenal since 2006. Got 7 points, won 1, drawn 4 and lost none. West Ham and Fulham have similar records against Arsenal but they have not managed to avoid defeat.

So it promises to be a tough encounter with Middlesbrough coming out with a draw a stark possibility. Especially considering there will be desperation in Boro’s game.

Regarding team news, there are more good news than bad ones this time. Almunia is back and should start. Djourou and Adebayor also return though they might not be risked straight away and be saved for the Champions League semi final first leg.

Clichy remains out for unknown period and van Persie will not return at least before the midweek trip to Old Trafford.

Arsenal are in good form so probably they should get the win and get a morale boost ahead of the match against United. 3-1 to Arsenal. It’s hard to predict a clean sheet with Silvestre back there and Sanga and Toure in bad forms…