Arsenal went to Middlesbrough with six changes to their lineup and a back three for the first time in 20 years, looked a total shambles, yet managed to come away with all three points.

The much-changed Arsenal lineup and system was greeted by a rousing chorus of ‘We love you Arsenal’ from the travelling support, their tunes dominating the crowd during the opening exchanges.

Unsurprisingly, a side full of players devoid of confidence struggled to adapt to the new roles they were being asked to play in a brand new system.

Boro looked dangerous, less through their own ability than Arsenal’s awfulness, but Arsenal should been given a chance to take the lead when Olivier Giroud was hauled to the ground in the box

It took Arsenal around 30 minutes to start looking like a side that knew what they were doing, the Ox making things happen down the right, driving energy into a lethargic Arsenal side.

But it was from the centre that Arsenal finally got their breakthrough. A clumsy challenge on Granit Xhaka lead to a freekick on the edge of the box, and Alexis made no mistake, leaving Brad Guzan rooted to the spot.

Whatever fun we were finding in the final moments of the first half was smashed to pieces at the start of the second.  It was awful defending from Arsenal. Again.

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Then, after looking like it was only a matter of time before we fell behind, up stepped Mesut Ozil…

https://twitter.com/TerjeAFCx/status/854070050025857026

Conclusion

Nobody expects a change of formation to magically make everything better, but then at this point it’s not the formation that’s the issue, or the ability of the players.

It’s their confidence. It’s their willingness to put themselves on the line and run through that proverbial and oft-mentioned wall for Wenger and their teammates. To get out of this mess, Arsenal need a team of players willing to leave the pitch in a state of exhaustion, having spent everything they have mentally and physically.

Far too many of this side aren’t even bringing it to the pitch in the first place to be able to leave it there.

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.