Does Middlesbrough Have Arsenal's Number?

Eduardo CollinsContributor IMarch 15, 2008

Arsenal drew Middlesbrough today in a match that could of kept Arsenal at the top of the Barclay's Premier league.

Middlesbrough and Arsenal have both shared very flat forms recently.

Arsenal has drawn their previous three matches, while Middlesbrough has drawn one and lost two of their last three. Both teams came in this match hungry for points.

Middlesbrough sat only five points above the relegation zone prior to this match. Arsenal is in a neck-and-neck fight with Manchester United for the Premiership.

Arsenal came out with their foot on the gas. The Gunners, off a tremendous chance, had a goal taken away at the four minute mark because of a bad call from the linesman.

A ball played to Fabregas is deflected to Adebayor, by Middlesbrough's George Boateng, behind the away teams back four and shot in. The lineman does not see the deflection and waives Adebayor offside.

In the twenty-fourth minute, Adebayor fouls George Boateng out of bounds in Middlesborough's defending third. Mark Schwarzer takes a long, booming free kick down the pitch.

The kick reaches a well-marked Tuncay inside Arsenal's eighteen-yard box. He passes the ball past two Arsenal defenders to Jérémie Aliadière. Aliadière finishes with a strike outside of the goal box beating Spanish keeper Almunia handily for a goal.

Arsenal turns up the pressure the remainder of the half looking to equalize.

Possession was fairly equal, but shots on goal in the first half goes to Arsenal with five shots to Middlesbrough one shot. The away team's one shot put them ahead 1-0 at the half.

No other scoring chances were there for Middlesbrough. Mark Schwarzer made three incredible saves to keep Middlesbrough on top.

Middlesbrough started the second half with a substitution. Lee Cattermole for Mohamed Shawky. Shawky had played very well this game in the middle paired with Boateng.

During the second half the pressure Arsenal had placed on Middlesbrough is still there, but not as intense as it was in the first half.

Middlesbrough is allowed more space, but this does not translate into more scoring attempts. 

Arsenal subs out a very rusty Robin Van Persie in the sixty-first minute for Theo Walcott. Van Persie had many fine scoring chances up to this point, but was unable to capitalize on them. Van Persie in his usual form would have turned these chances into goals.

We very well may have been looking at a 2-1 Arsenal lead off his opportunity.

In the seventy-fourth minute Boro's penalty box is packed with Gunners. Fabregas heads a pass at goal from Touré delivered from inside of the box.

The header beats Mark Schwarzer, but knocks off the outside of the post and is out for a goal kick. Fabregas is unlucky with this equalizing chance.

Boateng knocks a ball out for a corner in the eighty-sixth minute. Fabregas takes the tenth corner for Arsenal.

The ball reaches Touré outside of the goal box and is headed in past Mark Schwarzer for the equalizer. Schwarzer is prevented from making the save by his own player, Andrew Taylor.

The fortune for Boro further soured when Mido, who was substituted in for Aliadière in the seventy-eight minute, goes for a ball coming down in Arsenal's defending third with his foot high in the air.

He makes contact with the ball, but also with Gaël Clichy's head. Clichy, Arsenal's middlefielder, has to be carted off with his head bleeding and Mido is sent off with a red card. Mido's experience in his first season in the Premier League continues to be a rocky one.

Middlesbrough defends with ten men and prevents Arsenal from getting a go ahead goal. The game ends  1-1 after four minutes of stoppage time.

Arsenal started the day as the top team in Barclay's Premier League, but with this draw and Manchester United's win at Derby County, Arsenal has to settle for second place.

Manchester United takes the top spot due to goal difference in the league.

Middlesbrough takes another point from Arsenal. They have now taken four out of 6 points from Arsenal this year. No one has performed better against Arsenal than Middlesbrough in the league so far.

This draw helps Boro get away from that dreaded drop zone.

I give Middlesbrough Mark Schwarzer man of the match. His free kick down the field was placed so well and was instrumental to Boro's score. He also ended the game with six huge saves. We are defintely looking at different score line if it was not for his performance.

Play of the game goes to the sequence that scores Middlesbrough goal involving Schwarzer, Tucany, and Aliadière.




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