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MATCH SPY: Arsenal slip to fifth but Wenger remains upbeat

PUBLISHED: 12:29 16 December 2008 | UPDATED: 15:43 07 September 2010

MIDDLESBROUGH 1-1 ARSENAL Arsene Wenger insisted his team are on an upward curve despite Arsenal old-boy Jeremie Aliadiere denying his former employers three valuable points. The French striker headed home Tuncay Sanli s cross on the half hour mark to ca

MIDDLESBROUGH 1-1 ARSENAL

Arsene Wenger insisted his team are on an upward curve despite Arsenal old-boy Jeremie Aliadiere denying his former employers three valuable points.

The French striker headed home Tuncay Sanli's cross on the half hour mark to cancel out Emmanuel Adebayor's 17th-minute opener for the visitors.

'Boro, who are now unbeaten against Arsenal in five matches spanning nearly three years, looked to have won a penalty five minutes later when Gael Clichy appeared to upend Adam Johnson but referee Peter Walton waved away his appeals.

However, it was the visitors who enjoyed most of the possession with Robin van Persie spurning two great opportunites and substitute Nicklas Bendtner nearly snatching the win in the dying stages.

Wenger was frustrated, but tried to keep a brave face as his side dropped to fifth place after Aston Villa's 4-2 home win over Bolton: "Middlesbrough are a team who are capable of beating everybody in this league on their day, and we have to accept that. I believe we are on the way up, comparing how we were at the beginning of the season; then we would have lost a game like this.

"We have a better defensive balance, are more a team but just lack that extra thing that comes with confidence. This is a young team that is under a lot of pressure at the moment and that is why it is important to keep belief."

Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate added: "I think a draw given all the circumstances is possibly fair, but we had to be very resilient to get it.


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