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Arsenal 4-2 BATE - A Europa League Job Well Done.

The Europa League continued to be a happy hunting ground for Arsenal, as the Gunners won convincingly in Belarus.Borisov is a tough place to travel for any side, Bayern Munich can attest to this in the past, but, while the scoreline showed this wasn’t a walk in the park, Arsene Wenger got his selection bang on the money.Our Europa League adventure is a prime place to utilise the full strength of our squad, and also to give some of our more promising youngsters a run out, and again this was how Wenger went with our eleven. David Ospina as expected took the gloves, but Per Mertesacker and Rob Holding came into the defence alongside Shkodran Mustafi. Our midfield was much changed too. Jo Willock got a huge boost as he was named in central midfield alongside Mohamed Elneny, and our wing-backs were Ainslie Maitland-Niles and the exciting Reiss Nelson. In our front three, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud were given the nod, and Jack Wilshere stepped up his comeback by starting the game. The injury-plagued midfielder was to be the catalyst for our win with a scintillating display.The first half saw a shedload of goals, and it was Wilshere who sparked the deadlock being broken. His intuitive one-two with Giroud saw Wilshere clear, and he set up Walcott to score from close range after his first effort was saved. This was the ninth minute and he had already teed up Walcott to hit the post before the first goal. Wilshere meant business, but so did Theo. In the 22nd minute, Borisov keeper Denis Scherbitski passed to the speedster who was 15yards out. It left a simple finish and Theo had two goals inside half an hour. Three minutes later, Arsenal were in pure comfort. Theo Walcott’s corner was headed on by Mertesacker and it left Rob Holding to fling a foot out to score his first goal for the club. Arsenal being Arsenal though, we can’t have nice things, and so it proved as just three minutes after going three goals to the good, we were pegged back. Mirko Ivanic scored an excellent header to leave Ospina with no chance, and there was still plenty of time for more goals.Strangely enough though, no more were scored, although Jack and Reiss really did impress throughout.The second half took just four minutes to explode into action. Shkodran Mustafi earned a penalty that looked a little generous, but Olivier Giroud didn’t mind. He stepped up to score from the spot and his 100th goal for Arsenal. This achievement is huge, and should be warmly received by all Gooners. The Frenchman has been an excellent servant for us and his goal return has been better than some give him credit for. Not only that but his link-up play around the box is a huge asset, as well as his defending of set-plays.Enough of the Giroud love-in, there was still football to play. Unfortunately for us though, in the last twenty five minutes, it was pretty much all BATE Borisov. They huffed and puffed and in the 67th minute they closed the gap once again. Ivanic nearly scored again, only to be denied by Ospina. He could only parry the effort though, and Gordeychuk had the simple task of putting it in the net. 4-2, and BATE were looking increasingly likely to make this game far tougher than it should have been. We overcame a few scares and fought through to the final whistle to earn maximum points and top spot in our group, but it we managed to give BATE a reason to fight when they should have been dead and buried.Overall, it was a great night's work. Our backup attack is looking prolific and could prove to be a gamechanger in tough games from the bench. Our youngsters continue to look the part and Jack Wilshere looked excellent.We got what we came for, and the winning run continues. Belarus can be a tough place to visit, but everything Wenger could have wanted from this game, we got. Goals, fitness, experience. A job well done.