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Arsenal grabs rare away league win

The Associated Press

Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez scores with a free kick in the first half of Monday’s English Premier League match in Middlesbrough.

The Associated PressMIDDLESBROUGH, England (AP) — Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil secured Arsenal’s first English Premier League win on the road in three months on Monday, with the 2-1 victory at Middlesbrough reviving the London club’s tough pursuit of Champions League qualification.

Sanchez curled in a free kick right before halftime that was canceled out at the start of the second half by Alvaro Negredo. Sanchez played a part in Arsenal’s match-winner; his cross was chested down by Aaron Ramsey to Ozil, who sealed three vital points in the 71st minute.

Arsenal, whose last away win came at Swansea on Jan. 14, moved into sixth place. Although Manchester City is seven points ahead in the fourth Champions League place, Arsenal has a game in hand with seven still to play.

“You could see we were not playing with full confidence during some moments, but overall we wanted to win,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told broadcaster Sky Sports. “Overall, the commitment and the focus was there. When you’re in a lack-of-confidence situation, you know it comes back slowly and only the results help.”

Arsenal had won only one of its previous five league games, and Monday’s success came after Wenger tweaked Arsenal’s formation and set out with a three-man defense.

“I felt that it added a bit more stability on the long balls,” he said. “We knew we would face a direct game, and recently we have been punished on that.

“Sometimes when a team lacks confidence, just to change a system can help to believe in something different.”

Middlesbrough’s target is just staying in the Premier League, but it is looking more perilous after a loss that leaves the northeast team six points from safety with six games remaining.

Brighton secures promotion

BRIGHTON, England (AP) — Brighton will play in the top-flight of English soccer for the first time in 34 years after securing promotion to the Premier League on Monday.

Thousands of fans flooded the field at the south-coast club’s ground on Monday after a 2-1 victory over Wigan.

A seventh successive win ensured Brighton will finish in the two automatic promotion places in the League Championship. Chris Hughton’s side has a seven-point lead over Newcastle, the only remaining title contender.

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