Arsenal host Middlesbrough in the Premier League on Saturday, 22 October, as the Gunners look to make it seven wins on the bounce in the league and go top of the table, currently in second spot on goal difference. Manchester City play Southampton the following day, allowing the north London club to stay on top of the pile for at least a day before the leaders have a chance to reclaim their spot.

Where to Watch
Kick-off is set for 3pm BST. Highlights of the game will be available on BBC One from 10:20pm BST.

All eyes will be on Arsene Wenger, who turns 67 on the day, having spent 20 years of the same in charge of Arsenal, a remarkable achievement in whatever way you look at it. The players will be desperate to make it a happy outing for the manager and end the day on top of the league, as they look to end their title drought, running to over 12 years.

They come into the game on the back of a 6-0 thrashing of Champions League side Ludogorets in their third group game, with Mesut Ozil scoring a hat trick and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez each getting on the scoresheet. They made hard work of their win against Swansea last weekend, having led the Swans 2-0 and 3-1, but ended the game with 10 men after Granit Xhaka's red card, allowing the Welsh side a route back in the game.

Meanwhile, Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka has a task in his hands to stop a rampaging Gunners side, who are unbeaten in 11 games on the bounce since the beginning of the season. Boro themselves have not been in great form thus far, not managing a single win in their last six games, and will be without first choice centre-back Calum Chambers, who is ineligible to face his parent club.

Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger celebrates his 67th Birthday. Getty

However, the contest will be made interesting by the return of Mike Dean to the Arsenal fold, his first game in charge of a Gunners fixture since the Chelsea gaffe at Stamford Bridge last season, when he sent off Gabriel but failed to register a similar offence made by Diego Costa.

What Managers Say

Arsene Wenger: "Nobody lives a whole life by being motivated by the next game, stops suddenly and goes to church every day. If God exists and one day I go up there and he will ask: 'Do you want to come in? What have you done in your life?' And the only answer I will have is: 'I tried to win football games.' He will say: 'Is that all you have done?' And the only answer I will have is: 'It's not as easy as it looks.'"

Aitor Karanka: "I will try to do the best thing to win the game. I don't want to go to the Emirates just thinking a draw is good. If we think that way, we are going to lose one, two, three, maybe 5-0. I am preparing to win the game and I am confident we can do that."

Betting Odds (betfair)

  • Arsenal win:1/4
  • Draw: 24/5
  • Middlesbrough win: 14

Team News


Possible XI: Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Cazorla; Walcott, Ozil, Iwobi; Alexis.


Possible XI: Valdes; Barragan, Ayala, Gibson, Friend; De Roon, Forshaw; Stuani, Ramirez, Downing; Negredo.