By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger believes that Arsenal are heading in the right direction - despite dropping points at Middlesbrough.
Emmanuel Adebayor nodded the visitors ahead at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday but former Gunner Jeremie Aliadiere equalised against the run of play and his old club could not find a winner despite long spells of pressure in the second half.
Arsenal's frustration was eased by draws for Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United, which ensured that Wenger's side did not lose ground on the Premier League pacesetters. And the Frenchman saw enough in his team's performance on Teesside to suggest that they can beat Liverpool next Sunday and stay in the title race.
"I feel overall the game was positive," said Wenger.
"Because we are in a situation where everybody expects us to win every single game we play, of course we can get a bit frustrated. But I feel overall we are on a good way and I want us to show that in our next game against Liverpool.
"We will try of course. I still believe we have to prepare well for that game, come out Sunday and beat Liverpool, and then overall our last four games will be very positive."
The margin for error is narrow when you are eight points adrift in the title race but recent history suggested that Arsenal may struggle at the Riverside. Gareth Southgate is unbeaten in five games against Arsenal as Middlesbrough manager and Wenger had praise for his opposite number after Saturday's stalemate.
"It is not a coincidence [that Southgate does well against me]," said the Frenchman.
"I believe that they have a good side. Every time they play against us they play with belief, they fight everywhere. I still feel we were a bit unlucky not to come out [with all three points] because we tried to play and they tried to defend and counter-attack. That's what we face a little bit everywhere and that is the easiest part of the game.
"But I think he [Southgate] is one of the promising young managers."Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 15 Dec 2008