Arsenal took the lead in the 42nd minute, after Sánchez’s spectacular free kick. The hosts might have equalised shortly after the interval, but the Gunners insisted on having the last word. Özil scored the winner in the 71st minute.
Petr gave a flawless performance and was able to save the team especially at 1-1 in the 61st minute, when he masterfully dealt with Ayala’s finish from up close. “I’m mostly glad the match worked out and that we’ve got three important points. It’s a well-deserved win and I’m happy I got to be a part of it and out on the pitch once again, after my injury,” said Petr.
“The game went well for us. We scored a crucial opening goal and defended efficiently. Unfortunately, Middlesbrough managed to equalise right at the beginning of the second half, which is exactly what we were looking to avoid. But then we were able to withstand some of their threats and ended up responding with a winning goal,” described Petr. “Towards the end we got in even more scoring opportunities but never scored from them and we were forced to retain full focus all the way until the final whistle.”
Petr knew it wouldn’t be easy to seize three points from the second-to-last team of the table. “It’s all or nothing for them but in our case only a win would really count. In the light of some of our past hesitations we simply couldn’t afford another loss – particularly given the results of our opponents. Any little hesitation is going to be key now and, ideally, we’ll be looking to win all that’s left. There’s a lot of important games still ahead of us, including those against the clubs above us in the table, so it’s all up to us,” stated Petr.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger surprised many by switching around the Gunners’ formation, which turned from the traditional four defender system to 4-3-3. The English media consider this to be a historic milestone since Wenger had always been an unyielding four-defender system supporter ever since he had joined Arsenal. “Of course we knew about the change in advance; I think it worked quite well,” Petr commented.
“I’m happy with how the game turned out, now we can fully focus on the nearest FA Cup game,” said Petr, the game referred to being Sunday’s semifinal match with Manchester City.
Petr has been named best Czech footballer of 2016 for the ninth time in total! He was handed the trophy in the Spanish Hall at Prague Castle by Slovenian …
Petr wasn't able to finish the 28th Premier League round game against West Bromwich. In the 36th minute, he was replaced due to a calf injury. …