Arsenal v BATE Borisov

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Who could we face in the Europa League?

Europa League draw

The draw for the Europa League last-32 will be made on Monday – but who could we face?

At this stage of the competition, the eight third-placed Champions League group stage teams enter the competition, and are joined by the 24 teams who qualified through the Europa League group stage. All Europa League group winners have been seeded, along with the four Champions League sides who accumulated the most points in the group stage.

We will be drawn against one of the four Champions League sides with the fewest group-stage points total, or a Europa League group runner-up, with the exception of the runner-up in Group H. 

As a result of being seeded, we will play at home in the second leg of our last-32 fixture. 

Please note, no team can play a club from their UEFA Europa League group or a side from the same national association.

Games will be played in principle on Thursday, February 15, 2018 and Thursday, February 22, 2018, with the exact schedule released after the draw.

Post-Match Report

Arsenal 6-0 BATE Borisov: How it happened

What happened

The goals rained in as we rounded off our Europa League group stage in fine style, bringing up Arsène Wenger's 700th win as Arsenal boss in the process.

Emirates Stadium was barely half full for what was essentially a dead rubber against the newly-crowned Belarussian champions. But those who had braved the cold Islington night were rewarded with a six-goal show from the ruthless Gunners.

We had already ensured top spot as we brought our Group H campaign to a close, and as expected the manager made 11 changes from Saturday's lineup. But the boss did spring something of a surprise by reverting to a back four for the first time since April.

Mohamed Elneny saw an early snapshot fizz just wide, but shortly afterwards Debuchy's aim was true, to fire us ahead, and we were in complete control from that point onwards.

Theo Walcott went down in the area, appealing for a penalty, but before the referee could make his decision Debuchy strode onto the loose ball and powered a drive inside the far post. It was the Gunners' 100th goal of 2017, and the Frenchman's first for three years.

We were comfortably running the game, and the second goal looked inevitable. It was the lively Walcott who supplied it. Danny Welbeck was dispossessed after breaking into the box, and Walcott, playing on the right of the front three, was loitering in the right place to tuck home.

Nemanja Milunovic dived in to clear another Walcott effort off the line, and Jack Wilshere saw a 20-yard curler clawed away before Wilshere did thump home the third as the first half drew to a close. He beat his man just inside the area before arrowing his shot past the keeper.

The second half started how the first ended, with the Gunners on the front foot, and the lead soon increased. Walcott raced onto a Wilshere pass on the right wing, centred for Welbeck, but Denis Polyakov got there first and sent the ball past his own keeper.

Olivier Giroud was desperate to get on the scoresheet, and was given the opportunity from the penalty spot when Walcott was brought down in the area. Giroud smashed the ball home not once, but twice, as the referee made him re-take his first effort for encroachment.

Elneny curled home a wonderful sixth goal, latching onto Wilshere's square pass inside the area, and picking out the top corner.

Eddie Nketiah, Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock were all introduced in the second half. They, as much as anyone, will be eagerly awaiting the resumption of this competition in February.


See how the match unfolded with our play-by-play commentary.

What it means

Arsenal had already won the group before this game, but this victory meant we became the first English side to amass 13 points in a debut Europa League campaign.

What's next

The draw for the Round of 32 takes place at midday on Monday in Nyon, and we will be drawn against one of the Europa League group runners up, or Dortmund, Napoli, Celtic or Spartak Moscow, who dropped down from the Champions League.

The knock-out stages kick off in February, but it's back to the Premier League on Sunday for a midday kick off away to Southampton.

Wenger's 700

This was Arsène Wenger's 700th win as Gunners boss, here are some of the stats from the milestone:

  • His first win came against Blackburn Rovers, on October 12, 1996. Ian Wright scored twice in a 2-0 victory at Ewood Park.
  • The manager with the next most wins for Arsenal is Bertie Mee, with 241.
  • The wins have come in the Premier League (466), Champions League (96), FA Cup (78), League Cup (43), Uefa Cup/Europa League (10), Community Shield (7).
  • The side he has beaten most often is Everton (31)
  • His biggest win is 7-0, recorded three times (against Everton in 2005, Middlesbrough in 2006 and Slavia Prage in 2007)
  • The most common winning scoreline is 2-1 (126)
  • 216 of the wins came at Emirates Stadium.
  • His most wins in a season is 39 in 2001/02
  • The 700 wins came from 1,199 games at a rate of 58.4 per cent.
Press conference

Wenger - This team can play against anybody

Arsène Wenger made 11 changes to the starting lineup for Thursday night's game against BATE Borisov, and the replacements didn't disappoint, running in six goals without reply.

The manager spoke to the media after the game, about the low attendance for the game, and how he will approach the knock out rounds of the competition.

Here's what he said…

on whether the low crowd affected the players…
No, I think you forget about that once you are on the pitch. It’s true that you prefer the ground to be full, but tonight there was not a lot at stake on the competitive side. No matter how many sit in the stands, you have to give them what they expect - and that’s what we did.

on what he’d say to the fans who didn’t go…
You respect the decision of your fans. They knew we were top of the group anyway and you could basically expect that. You have looked around last night in the Champions League in game number six, I have seen many grounds not full, or half empty. That's a bit the problem of the group stage.

Theo Walcott struck his second goal of the season

on teams dropping from the Champions League…
Yeah, Napoli, Atletico Madrid, Dortmund, so it will be interesting.

on the draw…
We spoke about that. I thought that basically we were never in the Europa League because we always qualified out of the group stage, but I was never a big fan of teams going to the Europa League.

on team selection for the knockout stages…
I will adapt every time the team to the team we face. It depends. I just select the team I think can win the next game. It’s difficult because this team can play against anybody.


Wilshere - I had more of a license to go forward

Jack Wilshere scored his first Arsenal goal since May 2015 in our convincing 6-0 win over BATE Borisov on Thursday night.

After the match, the midfielder spoke to the media - read on for a full transcript.

on scoring for the first time in 18 months…
On a personal note it’s nice to get on the scoresheet. I was playing in a more central position and had a bit more license to get in the box and get off more shots. I enjoyed that role, but overall we knew that the match didn’t mean much, but it could have been one of those nights if we didn’t give it the right amount of focus, so we played some nice stuff, got some nice goals and are happy.

on not starting in the Premier League…
This is Arsenal, we have top players and all I can do when I’m called upon in the Europa League and off the bench in the Premier League is give my all, but at the end of the day what matters is the team. The team have been on a good run, except at the weekend, but we’re confident in all of our players, that we can bounce back. We have a good squad here and it’s tough getting ahead of some of these players, so all I can do is try and do my best.

Wilshere has made 14 appearances in all competitions so far this season

on whether he will be at the club past January…
I think so, but you have to ask the manager. it’s down to the manager and the club. I’ve said before how much this club means to me. I enjoy playing for this club, whether it’s in the Europa League, Premier League or Carabao Cup, and as you said I’ve only got six months left on my contract. But we’ll see, I’m enjoying playing at the moment.

on whether he is trying to make a statement…
I’m always trying to make a statement. I’m not in the Premier League team, so I’m trying to get into that. Every game and chance I get is an opportunity for me to show the manager what I can do and hopefully I did that tonight.

Press conference

Wenger - It was a stylish win

Arsenal rounded off the Europa League group stage with a thumping win over BATE Borisov on Thursday night, as Arsène Wenger recorded his 700th win for the club.

The boss spoke to the media after the game, reflecting on the win and assessing the performances from Jack Wilshere, Mathieu Debuchy and Theo Walcott.

On his 700th win…
I believe that it was done in a stylish way and in a technically-high quality game from our side. You can say the opponent was not at the level of the Premier League, and I would agree with you, but you can only do your job and that’s what we did, in a convincing way with remarkable spirit and finished well the job in this group stage. That’s basically it.

on Wilshere…
Look, Jack’s moving forward. You could see tonight that he is moving forward and ready to play now. He is sharp, he is quick, he is incisive again with his dribble and technically he was very good tonight. I would say for 70 minutes he was dominant in midfield on the creative side and that is very good news for us.

on Debuchy…
Yeah, they [he and Jack] are two similar players who have been out for a long time. He has had setbacks many times but now he’s fit and ready to play and you could see that from all the players who played tonight. First of all it was basically a Premier League team because they all have Premier League experience and they all have the quality to be in the Premier League.

Debuchy made it a century of goals for us in 2017 with his early strike

on Walcott…
Of course, he played very well. He is like Jack, he was very sharp today.


‘We just went out to enjoy ourselves’

Theo Walcott was in excellent form as we beat BATE Borisov 6-0 on Thursday night.

The England international scored our second goal and went on to create our next three. After the game, he spoke to the media.

on the performance…
I’d say that it was a performance that everyone enjoyed. Tonight we had already qualified, we went out with a bit of freedom. The manager said to go out and enjoy ourselves, that there was no pressure. Us players want to be playing every game we can. That’s what we’re doing at this moment in time in the Europa League but now we need to take that into the Premier League. It’s great to get through to the next stage and there are a lot of players that will have given the manager a headache. 

on how important playing in the Europa League has been…
As I said before, when called upon, we need to be ready for the Premier League. When you get your chance in the cup competitions, you’ve got to be able to take them. I think a lot of guys have done themselves proud tonight and not just tonight but throughout the whole group stage. Now we need to take this forward into the knockout stage, where it gets even more serious. There’s a lot of players that can raise their heads high, definitely.

on how hard the competition will become with Champions League teams dropping down…
It says it it all when Champions League teams drop out. It boosts that competition even more - there are top-quality teams that are going to be in the competition even more. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens next. We’re excited, it’s nice to get these teams coming through but we’ll fancy ourselves against anyone if we perform like we did tonight. At times it looked easy but we went out there and enjoyed it, and that’s what it’s about. When you see a whole group of players enjoying themselves, that’s what it’s about, I believe.


Who was our best player against BATE Borisov?

We rounded off our Europa League group-stage campaign with a 6-0 win over BATE Borisov on Thursday night.

A number of players impressed at Emirates Stadium: Mathieu Debuchy scored his first goal at home for us, Theo Walcott netted one and created three, while Jack Wilshere was on target for the first time since 2015.

But whose performance did you rate the highest? Make sure you vote below.



Chambers - We were ruthless tonight

Calum Chambers described Arsenal's performance as 'ruthless' as the Gunners saw off BATE Borisov 6-0 at Emirates Stadium to win our Europa League group in style.

The defender was at the heart of our back four, making just his third outing of the season after an injury affected campaign.

He had a fairly quiet night though, as the goals flowed at the other end.

"We scored some great goals, kept it tight at the back and everybody stuck to their jobs. It was a ruthless performance," the England international told Arsenal Player after the final whistle.

"For me I've missed quite a lot of the start of the season through injury so I just want to get games under my belt. Obviously nights like tonight help that, so I just want to do as well as I can in every performance and prove myself.

The win means we go into Monday's draw for the last 32 in confident mood, and Chambers believes we have what it takes to go all the way to the final in Lyon.

"We have got to aim high, we know we can go very far in this competition. Nights like tonight show that. Everybody has worked really hard in the competition, so we have got to give it everything we have got and see how far we can go.

"I have looked at who we can get in the next round, there are some quality teams dropping into the competition. Whoever we get will give it our best and we all know what job we have got to do."