Arsenal beat BATE Borisov to maintain 100% Europa League record
Arsenal beat BATE Borisov 4-2 in their Europa League Group H fixture tonight at the Borisov Arena.
It maintained the Gunners 100% record in the competition this season.
It was Arsenal’s first away win of the season.
It was an open and entertaining match.
Arsene Wenger will be happy with the attacking play and the performances of his young players.
However, the Gunners showed familiar defensive frailties that kept the home side in the match.
The result ended BATE’s unbeaten European home run of seven games (D3 L4).
The last visiting side to beat them in a UEFA game were Barcelona, 2-0 in the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League group stage.
Arsene Wenger made nine changes to the team that started on Monday night against West Brom in the Premier League.
Only Shkodran Mustafi and Mohamed Elneny retained their places.
There were starts for youngsters Ainsley Maitland Niles, Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock.
It was Willock’s first senior Arsenal start.
Both sides started cautiously, but that didn’t last for long.
Arsenal created the first clear opening after lovely inter-passing Theo Walcott hit the post with outside of his left foot.
Walcott didn’t have to wait long to open the scoring.
Jack Wishere broke into the penalty area and his cross the found Walcott. His header was saved by keeper Denis Scherbitski but he poked the ball into the net from the rebound.
1-0 to Arsenal after 10 minutes
Walcott got his second in the 22nd minute. He capitalised on a poor clearance from Scherbitski and slipped the ball into the net.
Arsenal made it three in the 26th minute, with Rob Holding shinning the ball into the net from close range after a flick on from a corner by Per Mertesacker.
It was Holding’s first goal for Arsenal.
The goals kept coming, but the next one was for the home side in the 28th minute. Mirko Ivanic heading past David Ospina from an Aleksei Rios cross.
The chances kept coming.
Walcott was denied his hat-trick by an outstanding save from Scherbitski.
From the result corner Holding hit the post from close range after a scramble in the penalty area.
The Gunners got their fourth goal in the 49th minute.
The ref pointed to the penalty spot, deciding that there had been a pull on Mustafi’s shirt from a corner.
Olivier Giroud stepped up to convert the spot kick.
It was his 100th goal for Arsenal. He’s the 19th man to reach that milestone for the club.
BATE made it 2-4 in the 67th minute, with Mikhail Gordeichuk crashing the ball into the net after sloppy defending from Arsenal.
There were more chances at both ends, but neither side were able to find the net again.
Next up for Arsenal in this competition will be home/away matches with Red Star Belgrade. The Serbians beat FC Koln 1-0 in the other Group H match tonight.
Arsenal: Ospina 6, Nelson 7 (McGuane), Holding 7, Mertesacker 7, Mustafi 6, Maitland-Niles 7, Elneny 6, Willock 7 (Nketiah), Wishere 8, Walcott 7, Giroud 6