A young Arsenal side saw off Bate Borisov in the second Europa League group game, as goals from Theo Walcott, Rob Holding and Olivier Giroud was enough to seal the win in Belarus.
Walcott opened the scoring after some delightful play by Jack Wilshere put the ball on a plate for him. He was the gifted his second goal of the game as the Bate keeper passed him the ball on the edge of the box. This was before Holding converted from close range to make it 3-0 to the Gunners.
Soon after Arsenal’s third, still before half-time, a Bate cross was met by Mirko Ivanic and powered past David Ospina to give Bate some hope, making it 3-1. But, early in the second half, a dubious penalty was awarded to Arsenal, and converted by Giroud, putting the game almost out of sight.
Bate threatened late on, and the crowd grew in confidence after their second goal from Mikhail Gordeychuk. However, they were unable to convert the confidence into goals, as Arsenal comfortably saw out the game at 4-2.
Here are the player ratings from the Europa League group game:
Denis Shcherbitski – 4/10 – He made a very good save initially before Walcott tapped in for the first goal and also made a fantastic fingertip save to deny Walcott his hat-trick just before half-time. However, his horrendous mistake to allow Arsenal and Walcott to make it 2-0 cannot be forgiven.
Aleksey Rios – 5/10 – Rios defended well on occasions, and blocked numerous Maitland-Niles crosses and denied him after Wilshere got the ball to him in a dangerous area. However, he did still find it tough to stop Arsenal’s intricate play like Hayduchk and Milunovic.
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.
Nemanja Milunovic – 4/10 – Similarly to Hayduchyk next to him, he found it extremely difficult to deal with Arsenal’s link up and mainly found himself hoping Arsenal would miss in front of goal.
Dzyanis Palyakow – N/A – Palyakow did okay to keep out hot prospect Reiss Nelson and denied him any chances down the right-hand side, before he was taken off early due to
Aleksandr Volodko – 4/10 – Volodko had a very tough evening, with Arsenal controlling the game, making it extremely hard for him to spread the play or help Bate get the ball forward.
Stanislav Dragun – 4/10 – It was always going to be difficult for Dragun, but playing Willock and Elneny, it was expected he would have some joy, but he was severely overrun by both centre midfielders and Wilshere.
Mikhail Gordeychuk – 6/10 – Unlike his fellow team-mate on the other side, Gordeychuk failed to get in behind Maitland-Niles and didn’t take advantage of his defensive weaknesses. But, he was there to pounce on an Ospina save and got Bate their second goal of the night, thrashing the ball in from close range.
Mirko Ivanic – 6/10 – Ivanic scored a great header, in what would only be a consolation for Bate, but it certainly helped his team gain a bit of confidence in the first half. He looked their most creative player by far throughout the game.
Ihar Stasevich – 6/10 – Stasevich had some joy against young Nelson in the first half and looked Bate’s brightest player. He faded out slightly, but come back to life late in the game as Bate pushed to try and force a draw.
Oleh Gusev – 3/10 – The lifelong Arsenal fan was non-existent for the 54 minutes he played, as he struggled to have any impact against Arsenal’s solid back three.
Maksim Volodko – 6/10 – Similarly to Palyakow, who he replaced, Volodko did well to keep Nelson quiet and showed some attacking intent.
Nikolay Signevich – 6/10 – Signevich come on early in the second half for striker Gusev, and made more of an impact than his team-mate. It was a solid performance from the substitute, and he helped threaten Arsenal in the latter stages of the game.
Dmitri Baga – N/A – Coming on late in the game he had a bit of joy with Bate being the most attack-minded team, but it was too late for him to help salvage anything from the game.