Arsenal secured a hard-fought three points at the Riverside Stadium on Monday night, a result which stops the rot for the north Londoners and keeps them in the hunt for a top four place.
Arsene Wenger switched to a back three for the away trip, with Rob Holding joining Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel in the centre, with Nacho Monreal and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain the wing-backs.
The first-half was a dull affair with the visitors, not surprisingly, having the lion’s share of position but all too often lethargic with their passing.
However, just before the break, Alexis Sanchez broke the deadlock, via a superb free-kick which left a rather badly positioned Brad Guzan with no chance in the Boro’ goal.
Despite the shake-up at the back, the Gunners once again looked brittle and conceded early on in the second-period, with Alvaro Negredo volleying home from a fine Stewart Downing centre.
The game started to open up after that equaliser, with both sides pushing for the winner.
However, it was Arsenal who would get the vital goal, with Mesut Ozil firing home with his right foot after a lovely chested pass from Aaron Ramsey.
The Gunners had a number of chances to score again late on, with the superb Oxlade-Chamberlain at the centre of things, but the game would end 2-1 to the north Londoners.
The result sees Arsenal go sixth, seven points off the top-four, with Wenger no doubt relieved with the win and satisfied with the improved displays from Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Granit Xhaka and Ozil.
As for Steve Agnew and Middlesbrough, despite their decent showing, they stay 19th, six points away from safety, with relegation looking very likely.