But against Middlesbrough they battled hard to end that dismal run, with goals from wantaway pair Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil sealing a 2-1 win, which moves Arsenal to within seven points of the top four with a game in hand.

'We had practiced on it before at some stage, (but) we like offensive football so this was a bit more defensive-minded for us. You could see that on some occasions, we were a bit over-cautious tonight.

"But hopefully that win will give us more confidence".

"It gave a bit of reassurance and that's what we need at the moment", Wenger told Arsenal's official website of his decision to switch to a back three.

Wenger fielded a three-man central defence for the first time in 20 years as manager, and while the new formation was not wholly convincing, Arsenal secured their first Premier League away win since January 14.

While Gunners manager Arsene Wenger switched the formation to 3-4-3, with Oxlade-Chamberlain at right wing-back, the England worldwide focused on the attitude of the players who were heavily criticised after last week's 3-0 defeat by Crystal Palace. "That shows you that even in my age you can change".

While Arsenal are seven points behind fourth-placed Manchester City, they do have a game in hand and will be looking to make a push for the last slot for next season's Champions League. Alexis Sanchez curled in a ideal free kick to give the Gunners the lead in the first half, then helped set up Ozil for the victor. "Now we have a little break with the FA Cup (they play Manchester City on Sunday in the semi-final) and then we come back again to the league". "We have to take responsibility for that and we've done that this week between ourselves", he said.

Chamberlain, who was arguably the Gunners' best player on the night in an unfamiliar right wing-back role, put the performance down to doing the simple things right.

"Of course, Middlesbrough did fight because it was one of their last chances to stay in the league". That's why we never gave up.

"Overall I felt that it worked quite well today because we won the game".

"It helps to get lighter heads and get the pressure off our shoulders".

"I felt we were focused and committed".

Sanchez floated a ball over the top into the box that was downed by Aaron Ramsey into the path of Ozil, and the German finished with a right-footed shot past Brad Guzan.