Arsenal vs Middlesbrough Preview: Boro go in search of points during tough run of fixtures

Aitor Karanka's Middlesbrough side have collected one point from a possible 15, but as the side approach a fixture list including visits to Leicester and Manchester City, the Teessiders need to pick up points against tough opposition.

Arsenal vs Middlesbrough Preview: Boro go in search of points during tough run of fixtures
Middlesbrough are looking for the second win of the season against high flying Arsenal | Photo: Richard Heathcote-GettyImages

Going in to the recent international break, a draw at West Ham lifted the Middlesbrough fans. 

Last Sunday's 1-0 loss, however, at home at the hands of Watford deflated spirits in the North East. 

A trip to Arsenal will not brighten any spirits at Middlesbrough, with the club having not won in seven games, but Aitor Karanka's side will head South and hope to cause an upset at the Emirates.

Leadbitter aiming to make first Premier League start in seven years, with Ramsey set to return for the hosts

Arsenal's only injury worry going into the match is Spanish playmaker Santi Cazorla. He missed numerous games last season with an achilles injury and could be replaced in the starting lineup by Aaron Ramsey who returned to fitness this week.

Middlesbrough, on the other hand, will be testing the fitness of captain Grant Leadbitter, who trained with the squad ahead of the game with the Gunners.

Leadbitter will be looking to start his first Premier League game in seven years after his transfer from Sunderland to Ipswich Town in 2009, but this match may just be too soon for the midfielder to make his return.

Grant Leadbitter trains with Middlesbrough's first team for the first time this season | Photo: MFC.co.uk
Grant Leadbitter trains with Middlesbrough's first team for the first time this season | Photo: MFC.co.uk

Calum Chambers, who has started in all three of Middlesbrough's games since joining on loan, cannot play against his parent club due to the terms of his loan agreement. Daniel Ayala is likely to start his fourth league game of this campaign in place of him.

Adama Traore came off the bench in Middlesbrough's last game against Watford and completed the most take-ons in the match. The former Barcelona winger will be hoping to make his first Boro start against Arsenal.

Arsenal dominate recent head-to-heads

The recent fixtures between Arsenal and Boro severly favour the side from North London.

Middlesbrough 'keeper Tomas Mejias impressed during the last meeting between the sides, which eventually finished 2-0 to Arsenal thanks to a brace from Olivier Giroud

Alexis Sanchez (centre) finds space between Boro's Leadbitter and Friend in their 2015 FA Cup meeting | Photo: Getty
Alexis Sanchez finds space between Boro's Leadbitter and Friend in their 2015 FA Cup meeting | Photo: Jamie McDonald - GettyImages

The most notable meeting between the sides, of late, was Middlesbrough's 7-0 loss to Arsenal at Highbury. A very forgettable day for fans of the Teesside outfit ten years ago, as well as 'keeper Brad Jones, who saw Thierry Henry score a hat-trick past him.

Possible Lineups

Middlesbrough: Valdes; Barragan, Ayala, Gibson, Friend; Clayton, Forshaw; Traore Ramirez, Downing; Negredo.

Arsenal: Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Ramsey; Walcott, Ozil, Sanchez; Giroud.