Arsenal travelled to Belarus to take on BATE Borisov in the europa league with the aspiration of snatching another victory following their 3-1 victory over FC Koln at the Emirates on match-day 1 of the tournament, with Arsene Wenger making ten notable changes to his starting XI. The likes of Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Alexandre Lacazette and Hector Bellerin were all absent, but Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Chuba Akpom were amongst the starlets involved upon proceedings at the start of the encounter, which saw the Gunners promptly steamroll past their opponents from the first touch.

A brace from Theo Walcott and a solitary goal from Rob Holding saw the north Londoners go 3-0 up within the first half an hour, although BATE did make one step towards a relative revival through Mirko Ivanic, who pegged the scoreline back to 3-1 in the 28th minute after connecting to a cross provided by Aleksey Rio with an accomplished header inside the danger area. Arsenal initially looked comfortable and the fledgling members of the fold appeared to be unshaken by the European occasion. With a healthy cushion to rest on, Arsenal entered the halftime interval with their tails up, despite conceding to somewhat lesser opposition.

Century man

Five minutes into the second half, one of the few Arsenal mainstays in the match-day squad Olivier Giroud had the opportunity to chalk his 100th goal for his employers from the penalty spot, and the Frenchman certainly didn't fluff his lines as he strode onto the ball to coolly caress the ball into the bottom left.

A milestone reached for the dependable hit-man, and an unassailable 4-1 lead for Wenger's clinical, dominant men.


But, despite a mountain to climb, BATE were not prepared to give up. Complacency seemed to plague Arsenal's game after Giroud grabbed their 4th and sloppy errors subsequently put the Premier League outfit under unquestionable pressure, with David Ospina being forced into making a number of point blank saves.

Arsenal simply could not wake themselves from the lull which handed the home side the opportunities to punish, and Mikhail Gordechuk made sure that their efforts deemed a goal in the 68th minute after slamming the ball home following a parried Ivanic header. Game on with 20 minutes still left on the clock at 4-2.


Though Arsenal were still indeed two goals to the good, they continued to ride their luck at times in the final third of the tie.

Aleksandr Volodko was gifted a golden opportunity to nab a third goal for BATE, and if he could have arrowed the ball between the posts rather than wide of them from inside the box, the game may have ended on much more of a frantic note for 'Le Prof's' dozing brigade, but the 4-2 scoreline remained unaltered.

However the three points ultimately belonged to Arsenal at the Borisov Arena after claiming six points from a possible six in the continent's second-rate competition, but having their cage rattled by the Belarusians in the second 45 most notably is a sobering reminder that they can not take the Europa League lightly, as the glitz and glamour of the Champions League is nothing more than a distant memory, for now at least.