By Richard Clarke

Arsène Wenger is expecting his side to bounce back immediately from Saturday's disappointing draw against Middlesbrough.

It was Arsenal's fourth successive Premier League stalemate and saw them drop down to second place behind Manchester United. After the game, the Arsenal manager admitted the dressing room atmosphere was as "flat as he had seen".

Despite Kolo Toure's 84th-minute equaliser and a frantic finale, this felt like a defeat. But although Arsenal may have chosen the wrong time to wobble, the manager knows there is still time to rectify the situation.

"It is very frustrating because both Chelsea and Manchester United won 1-0 and they did not have the greatest of games either," said Wenger.

"That's what we wanted to achieve but it didn't work. We were 1-0 down early in the game and that gave Middlesbrough a lot of courage to defend. In the end we scored but it was too late to go on and win.

"It's frustrating because they had one shot on target and yet we dropped two points."

In fact there have been two points dropped in each of the last four games. For a title-chasing side who have been beaten only once all season that can only be classed as a slump. And Wenger has no apparent explanation.

"There is no obvious reason for it," he said. "Apart from the fact that we dropped two unbelievable points at Birmingham and that has maybe had consequences on our Premier League form.

"But you have to deal with it and I don't believe it's a good enough explanation. Wigan was just after the Champions League [at Milan], Aston Villa are a difficult team and we gave everything against Middlesbrough but we were not creative enough.

"I don't know [if the players feel sorry for themselves]. You can come to any conclusion. I feel they gave absolutely everything but there was a little fraction less of belief.

"There was a big disappointment in the dressing room. It was like a defeat. It is the flattest I have seen them after a game.

"But I feel this team fights. We came back again against Boro and this team will go until the end. I believe we need to keep fighting and then [we can] turn things around."

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
Richard Clarke 17 Mar 2008