Arsene Wenger admitted he was frustrated after watching the Gunners held to a 0-0 draw by struggling Middlesbrough at the Emirates.
The hosts saw their seven-game winning run come to an end against Aitor Karanka’s men and had goalkeeper Petr Cech to thank after he pulled off several fine saves to deny the visitors.
Despite this, Arsenal’s draw leaves them top of the Premier League, but the Frenchman was not happy on his 67th birthday.
“I think I have a frustrated face, certainly, and I am,” he told the official Arsenal website. “We had a lot of the ball, in the modern game it’s maybe not enough to win the games. We had 75 per cent possession but we didn’t have our usual pace in the combination or enough sharpness in our movement.
“In the first 20 minutes we were quite satisfied, after Middlesbrough came back in the game and were dangerous on the break. In the end, we couldn’t win it. At least we were intelligent enough not to lose it.”
The Frenchman also suggested that the tiredness could have played a part with Arsenal in action in midweek as they thrashed Ludogorets 6-0 in the Champions League.
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“Yes, you are right. We paid a little price for the Champions League on Wednesday night and usually when you play at home you still would like to manage to win but we couldn’t,” he explained.
“We could’ve lost the game as well in the first half, but that’s the modern game you know. If you don’t score early, if you’re not sharp enough, if you’re not creative enough. We lacked a bit of creativity today and then you can have a draw or even lose the game.”
Arsenal were heavy favourites to beat Middlesbrough, particularly given their form going into the game, and fans will share Wenger’s frustration at not being able to make it eight wins in a row. However, this is a game they may well have lost last season and with the team still unbeaten since the opening day the result is not as disappointing as it may seem.