Europa League: Theo Walcott inspires Arsenal victory at Bate Borisov

Saturday, 30 Sep, 2017

The Gunners dominated the opening exchanges of the game and were 3-0 up after 25 minutes following a brace from Theo Walcott and a first Arsenal goal for Rob Holding. The north Londoners have six points from a possible six so far on the continent and had to show some mettle in their second group H match as Borisov pressed to reduce the arrears further.

Wilshere was especially effective early on and set up Walcott to prod in the opener before the forward capitalised on a goalkeeper howler to double the visitors' lead. Soon after, a bad misplaced pass from Bate goalkeeper Denis Scherbitski allowed Walcott to double the lead. He miskicked the ball directly to Walcott who deposited it into the corner.

Just two minutes later the same two players combined and this time Walcott scored.

The Gunners' penchant for lapses in concentration struck again however and after a ball from Aleksei Rios was whipped in Mirko Ivanic was on hand to thump his header past David Ospina at the near post.

Scherbitiski made amends on one particular occasion to tip away another Walcott effort away at full-stretch to temporarily deny his hat-trick.

Ozil now faces a fight to recapture a starting berth, with Arsenal having looked more resolute in picking up back-to-back clean sheets against Chelsea and West Brom.

In the 48th minute, referee Daniel Stefanski awarded Arsenal a soft penalty - apparently for a shirt pull on Mustafi from Stanislav Dragun, for which he was yellow carded.

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Ivanic reduced the deficit for the hosts with a header, Giroud restored the three-goal margin, and Gordeichuk finished off the scoring.

Vital Hayduchyk - 4/10 - The combinations between Walcott and Wilshere will be giving the centre back nightmares for weeks as he struggled to deal with the two Englishman's quick and intricate play.

Gordeychuk made it 4 - 2.

Nemanja Milunovic - 4/10 - Similarly to Hayduchyk next to him, he found it extremely hard to deal with Arsenal's link up and mainly found himself hoping Arsenal would miss in front of goal.

The Gunners boss also revealed centre-back Koscielny, who was suspended for the Europa League match in Belarus, is in doubt for the visit of Chris Hughton's promoted side to Emirates Stadium.

Next up, Arsenal travel to Crvena Zvezda (Red Star Belgrade) in three weeks time after the worldwide break.