Arsene Wenger rued Arsenal’s unusual lack of creativity as they were held to a goalless draw by Middlesbrough.
The Gunners’ boss was celebrating his 67th birthday as they fought for their seventh consecutive league win but an impressive performance from Boro goalkeeper Victor Valdes and a lack of creativity in midfield kept the game goalless.
Speaking about the performance, Wenger said:
“I think I have a frustrated face and I am (frustrated).
“We had a lot of the ball but a lot of the ball in a modern game is not enough to win the game.
“I felt that with 75 per cent of the possession, we did not have our usual pace and not enough sharpness in our movement.
“The first 25 minutes were quite satisfying but Middlesbrough came back in the game with a break.
“In the end we could not do enough to win it but at least we were concentrating enough not to lose it.
“We could have lost the game in the first half, we lacked a bit of creativity.”
Arsenal were missing two key players due to injury, with Santi Cazorla sidelined due to an Achilles injury and Olivier Giroud suffering from a problem with his foot, but Wenger did not want to use their absence as an excuse.
He said: “We always miss Cazorla. At home, from deep midfield into the final third, his pass is always quick and accurate.
“We didn’t make enough from our set-pieces and our crosses so of course, the first thing that comes in mind is someone with a bit more size and a physical presence could have helped.
“We have just come out of six straight wins and I would not like to use (the injuries) as an excuse. We are an offensive team and we didn’t manage to score, which is frustrating.
“Cazorla I don’t really know, we need to see how he recovers on Monday, but Giroud could be in the squad on Tuesday night.”