Search

Europa League: BATE Borisov 2 Arsenal 4

PUBLISHED: 20:16 28 September 2017

Arsenal's Theo Walcott (pic John Walton/PA)

Arsenal's Theo Walcott (pic John Walton/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

An under-strength Arsenal XI survived a late fightback from BATE Borisov to secure a victory that keeps them on course to progress in the Europa League.

Arsenal's Rob Holding (pic John Walton/PA)Arsenal's Rob Holding (pic John Walton/PA)

In a game of little quality beyond the superb Jack Wilshere, it was goals from the recalled trio of Theo Walcott, Rob Holding and Olivier Giroud – with his 100th Gunners goal – who sealed all three points at the Borisov Arena in Belarus as much as David Ospina’s goalkeeping.

Arsene Wenger had retained only Mohamed Elneny and Shkodran Mustafi from the team that on Monday defeated West Brom 2-0, handing rare starts to Reiss Nelson and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, while Joseph Willock made his senior debut.

It was the experienced defence of Per Mertesacker, Mustafi and Holding that regardless proved consistently vulnerable, but with Ospina impressive and BATE so disorganised, Arsenal were left top of Group H with the maximum six points from their two openers.

Play had yet to develop any sort of pattern when Wilshere’s through-ball sent Walcott clear, from where the forward struck the post when shooting with the outside of his right foot, retrieved the rebound, and then saw his next effort blocked.

Arsenal's Olivier Giroud (pic John Walton/PA)Arsenal's Olivier Giroud (pic John Walton/PA)

Almost immediately after that in the ninth minute, Wilshere played a one-two with Giroud to beat three defenders and then square a cross towards Walcott, who after watching Denis Scherbitski save his header, routinely finished the rebound.

The erratic hosts did not pose any sort of threat until Igor Stasevich broke down the left and Mertesacker unconvincingly cleared his cross to the edge of the area, where Mirko Ivanic struck well on the bounce but sent his effort just beyond the left post.

If that appeared any sort of platform to build upon, it swiftly meant little when in the 22nd minute, BATE goalkeeper Scherbitski sloppily passed the ball under minimal pressure to Walcott, gifting him the close-range finish with which he scored.

Another masterful through-ball from Wilshere had put Maitland-Niles in before his cross was cleared for a 25th-minute corner, when again BATE too easily conceded.

Holding had been near-static in front of goal when Walcott’s delivery was nodded on by Mertesacker and it struck his shin and went inside the near, left post.

Only three minutes later, from Aleksei Rios’ cross from the right wing, the free Ivanic then sent a powerful header looping beyond Ospina and into the roof of the net.

For a period Arsenal remained uncertain, but by half-time Walcott had been denied his hat-trick by a save from Scherbitski, and Holding had struck the post with another close-range effort, again exposing BATE’s vulnerabilities.

They were perhaps fortunate three minutes into the second half when Stanislav Dragun conceded a penalty for a routine tug on Mustafi’s shirt.

From it, the largely-quiet Giroud became the 19th player to reach a century of goals for the club, showing his composure to stroke into the bottom-left corner as Scherbtiski dived to the right.

Even then, owing partly to their inexperience and Wilshere’s advanced role when he could have offered direction from central midfield, Arsenal’s lack of shape gave their hosts further opportunities.

It was in the 68th minute when poor defending gifted Ivanic another header that tested Ospina and forced the goalkeeper to parry to Gordeichuk, who then struck from directly in front of goal.

Further nervy periods were to follow as Ospina produced further saves before – with Edward Nketiah also given his debut from the bench – the visitors closed out victory.

Arsenal: Ospina, Mustafi, Mertesacker, Holding, Nelson (McGuane 79), Willock (Nketiah 89), Elneny, Maitland-Niles, Walcott, Wilshere, Giroud.

Unused subs: Akpom, Da Silva, Dragomir, Gilmour, Macey.

Latest Islington Sports News

10:00

Middlesex captain Dawid Malan admitted his side didn’t bat well enough on day one of their County Championship Division Two match at Durham.

09:00

Amid an underwhelming season at Middlesex one man at least can allow himself a quiet smile of satisfaction.

07:51

Stuart Law will leave his role as West Indies head coach to take over at Middlesex from next season.

Yesterday, 19:40

Durham have made the perfect start to Paul Collingwood’s final match, producing a strong performance to lead Middlesex by 106 runs on day one of their Specsavers County Championship Division Two clash at Emirates Riverside.

Yesterday, 12:00

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech has been speaking to the Islington Gazette. Read on for what he had to say to Layth Yousif.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Arsenal boss Unai Emery has been speaking after his side’s 2-0 victory over Everton which has moved the North Londoners up to sixth place. Read on to learn what the head coach has to say about the second half improvement, his take on first goalscorer Alexander Lacazette and Sokratis’ injury

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Arsenal boss Unai Emery has been speaking after his side’s 2-0 victory over Everton at the Emirates on Sunday as the Gunners made it four league wins on the bounce and five in five. Read on for his verdict in his own words

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Arsenal hosted Everton at the Emirates on Sunday. Read on for Layth Yousif’s PLAYER RATINGS

PROMOTED CONTENT

Fostering older teenagers means giving them the skills for life as an adult. Here, a supportive lodgings carer with Islington Council and young adult who has left care share their stories

Newsletter Sign Up

Islington Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read sport

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now