Well, I think that the best that can be said about this game is that the run of scoring in every league game this season has continued, albeit with virtually the last kick of the game.
This was a lacklustre performance from the league leaders, who were severely understrength at kick off. Wenger chose to leave Theo Walcott on the bench, and with the absence of Van Persie, Hleb, Fabregas and Flamini, the heart of the Arsenal threat had been removed. But The Gunners have that strength and depth as has been proven in The Carling Cup. Or had they?
Middlesbrough were by far the quicker out of the blocks, and threatened early in the game. Indeed, Arsenal were to concede a penalty with only four minutes on the clock. In hindsight, it was a soft penalty to give away from a previous employee, Aliadiere. He appeared to be going nowhere, when there was a connection inside the box, down the player went, and Boro had been gifted the dream start. Downing converted the resulting spot kick, and though Almunia got a hand to the kick, was unable to keep the ball out.
To give further context as to the game, Arsenal did not actually have a shot/effort on goal until around the 87th minute, and that from an off-side Adebayor who miscontrolled the ball into the direction of the net. Misplaced passes were the key to the demise. Scarcely have I seen Wengers men fail to find an Arsenal foot so many times within the same game. Middlesborough, meanwhile, had the bit between their teeth, and although they did not completely dominate, they certainly bossed the game.
The misery was driven home on 73 minutes when a stunning drive was parried by Almunia, and from a tight angle Tucnay slotted home courtesy of a slight deflection.
The Arsenal goal, when it finally arrived was typical Arsenal pressing forward at pace, and with a neat finish from Tomas Rosicky, some sort of respectability was brought to the scoreline. It was too little, too late, and the unbeaten league run was at an end.
In all honesty, it was a poor performance from Arsenal. Wenger has been quoted as saying that it was a game the lads deserved to lose, however one thing that all staff and supporters must remember is that this blip is just that. A blip. The season is a marathon, and not a sprint. We may have lost the battle, but we have not lost the war!