Report: Arsenal 2-0 Middlesbrough
By Randy Osae
A fab-ulous captain’s contribution capped a scrumptious football exhibition from Arsenal which will resonate all the way to Old Trafford ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League semi-finals.
Cesc Fabrgeas was the rare finisher of a pair of sublime moves from the Gunners which were only a fraction of the number of occasions Arsenal strolled through the visitors.
Arsene Wenger mastered Gareth Southgate for once, and he made sure he did with comfort.
The Emirates’ favorites were the pace-setters as usual and passes were stringing. Fabregas found Gibbs at the near post, but the youngster was shy to react.
Arshavin wanted five today and was active on the left. Within 26 minutes, he would compose the opener.
Before sprinting, the Russian handed a pass to Bendtner who flicked the ball to Fabregas on the center-line. The Spaniard swiftly teed up Arshavin who returned possession over for the skipper to drill the ball home from the edge of the area.
On another day, the struggling visitors may have had an appeal for penalty approved when Bendtner’s arm seemed to have met a corner-kick from Stewart Downing.
And despite being second best, Boro posed their second question for the home side when that same man alarmed Almunia with a 20-yard snap-shot.
Arsenal’s defense regrouped after Silvestre was swapped for a fit-again Djourou into the second-half. And Almunia had to rush out of his area to deny Jeremie Aliadiere from making the most of a slight indiscipline at the back.
Boro were slacking more at the other end as Fabregas and Eboue teamed to set up Walcott who forced action from Brad Jones.
Still at 1-0, Southgate’s men were still biding their time to nick something and when Marlon King volleyed on target, Arsenal lost their mercy.
And so on 67 minutes, Eboue sent in a ripping through-pass for Fabregas who rounded off the goalkeeper to coolly end the contest.
With nothing to debate about now, it was necessary Wenger saved his knacks for midweek and so Abou Diaby and Emmanuel Adebayor replaced Fabregas and Walcott respectively.
It was another walkover today.