Arsenal celebrate Wenger’s birthday but ride luck to hold Middlesbrough

Arsène Wenger’s having a party; bring your vodka and your DVD of Fortuna Köln versus Paderborn. The Arsenal manager is no hell-raiser and he has long had his leg pulled about his idea of a big night, which – according to legend – has to feature German third division football. One thing was plain after this anti-climatic comedown from Wednesday’s 6-0 Champions League win over Ludogorets. His 67th birthday bash would have been the dampest of squibs.

Wenger’s moods are entirely dependent on the results of his team and this was one of those that they throw in every now and then – sometimes, when they are least expected. Arsenal had entered the game as the form team in England while Middlesbrough had never had so few Premier League points after the first eight matches of a season.

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