A clinical performance was enough to get three points in the trip to Borisov for Arsenal as they came away winners 4-2 in the Europa League tie against Belarusian outfit BATE Borisov.
Arsene Wenger named a second string side and rested 9 players who featured in the win over West Brom as only Elneny and Mustafi started the game in Belarus. Wilshere made a return to the side while Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson and Ainslay Maitland Niles all started. The Arsenal bench was also full of young players.
Walcott opened Arsenal scoring on 9 minutes from a magnificent cross by Wilshere, who was instrumental on his return to Arsenal. Then Walcott doubled Gunners’ lead thanks to a goalkeeping horror by BATE’s keeper. Rob Holding then scored his first ever Arsenal goal from a tap in to make it 3-0 for Arsenal in 25 minutes. The hosts though came back and scored within a couple of minutes to decrease the deficit.
After break, the Gunners restored the lead from the spot when Olivier Giroud scored his 100th goal for Arsenal in all competitions, only the 19th Arsenal player to do so. Spirited BATE though played decent football and scored again as Gordeychuk scored from close ranges after a header rebounded from Ospina’s gloves. The nervy Gunners defense had some problems to deal with the likes of Stasevich and Ivanic but prevailed the ninety minutes to secure an important victory for Arsenal, which also happens to be Arsenal’s first away win in all competitions this season.
Ospina; Mustafi, Mertesacker, Holding; Nelson (Mcguane), Maitland Niles; Elneny, Willock (Nketiah), Wilshere, Walcott; Giroud
Man of the Match:
Walcott scored a brace while Giroud also scored a milestone goal, but the man who displayed the best bit of football was a returning Jack Wilshere as he was quite outstanding in the midfield going forward. His passing movements and vision was terrific and clearly he seems to be someone coming back to his very best.
Next for the Gunners:
Arsenal host Brighton next in the Premier League on Sunday.