BATE Borisov 2-4 Arsenal

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Press conference

'Wilshere is a good way back to his best'

Jack Wilshere completed another 90 minutes on Thursday night as we made it six points from six in Group H of the Europa League.
 

The England international set up Theo Walcott for our opener - and Arsene Wenger was impressed with the midfielder’s display.

Here’s what the boss said in his post-match press conference: 

on his reaction to the result…
I believe overall we had a team that was a mixture of experienced players and young players and overall we had a good cohesion. We played football like we wanted to play, with good pace in our game. We maintained it for 65 minutes maybe, but the last 20 minutes were a bit more difficult. Overall, I am very pleased with our performance.

on Jack Wilshere’s performance…
He had an outstanding first half and he did fight until the end. I think he is on a good way back to his best. He has shown that tonight.

on whether Jack can become even better with his vision and technical skill…
He is at an age where a player normally gets to the best of his career. He is on the way up and he has only been stopped by a series of injuries. Hopefully, I just pray that he is not hampered anymore by any problems and then we will see him getting stronger and stronger. He has shown again tonight that he has not lost his football.

on when Jack Wilshere’s contract situation will be resolved…
Not tonight.

on Olivier Giroud scoring his 100th goal…
I just congratulated him for his remarkable achievement of 100 goals. He is in good company when you look. It is a remarkable achievement. When you play football, the most difficult thing is to score goals and he has scored 100 for us. I just congratulated him for that remarkable achievement.

on whether he asks his experienced players to lead by example in games like this…
Yes, of course. I believe these players practise with us every day and they know how we want to play. I must say, BATE Borisov is a good team who have good cohesion. They have a good technical level, they work well together and we needed a good performance to beat them tonight.

Goals

Watch the goals from the BATE Borisov game

Olivier Giroud scored his 100th goal as we made it two wins from two in the Europa League with a 4-2 victory over BATE Borisov on Thursday night.
 

Theo Walcott struck twice in the opening 22 minutes, before Rob Holding turned home his first goal in Arsenal colours shortly after.

Mirko Ivanic pulled one back, but Olivier restored our three-goal cushion by scoring his landmark goal just four minutes into the second half, converting a penalty after Shkodran Mustafi was fouled.

Mikhail Gordeichuk was unable to turn the game in the favour of the Belarusian champions despite reducing the deficit, meaning we sit top of Group H.

You can watch highlights from our win by pressing the 'play' button above.

Post-Match Report

BATE Borisov 2-4 Arsenal: How it happened

WHAT HAPPENED

Olivier Giroud scored his 100th goal in Arsenal colours as we sealed a comprehensive victory against BATE Borisov in Belarus on Thursday.

In a entertaining clash, we scored three goals inside the first 25 minutes – a brace for Theo Walcott and one for Rob Holding – while the hosts pulled one back.

The second half was less frenetic, but you still couldn’t take your eyes of the match for a second as we eased into a 4-1 lead before BATE struck their second, and then threatened a comeback.

The win leaves us in pole position in Group H, ahead of back to back games against Red Star Belgrade, and our attacking play will have delighted Arsene Wenger.

With the hugely-impressive Jack Wilshere pulling the strings in the No 10 role, we soon started the dominate proceedings.

There were just eight minutes on the clock when Wilshere slipped Walcott through in the area, but his poked shot struck the post and his follow-up effort was blocked.

But it mattered not as, 60 seconds later, the England international was offered the chance to make amends… and he would not pass it up. 

Once again Wilshere was at the heart of it, receiving the ball to the left of the area and delivering an inviting cross to his team-mate, waiting six yards out who forced it over the line at the second time of asking.

The team celebrate v BATE Borisov

It was enough to temporarily silence the partisan home crowd, but they soomn found their voice when the busy Mirko Ivanic arrowed a shot just wide from the edge of the area.

But we extinguished the home fans’ hopes of a comeback when Walcott doubled our lead, preying on a mistake from goalkeeper Denis Scherbitski to slot into the bottom corner.

It was a cool finish, and while Holding’s strike for our third goal of a frantic first half was less predatory, the centre back will not care a jot as he bundled the ball over the line from close range after a corner fell at his feet.

It was the 21-year-old’s first goal in Arsenal colours and his ecstatic celebration in front of the 700 or so travelling fans told it’s own story.

BATE got themselves back into the game moments after that goal went in as Ivanic headed beyond Ospina to spark wild celebrations inside this arena.

There was still time for Walcott to see a shot deflected narrowly wide and for Holding to hit the post before the interval, but four minutes after the restart we had our fourth – and Giroud had his century of Arsenal goals.

It came from the penalty spot and the decision to award it had a degree of controversy about it as contact between Stanislav Dragun and Shkodran Mustafi in the box appeared to be minimal.

But no one of an Arsenal persuasion was complaining, least of all Olivier Giroud who calmly slotted his spot kick into the bottom corner.

BATE pushed on as they sought to find a way back into the game, and they pulled one back in the 68th minute when  Mikhail Gordeichuk smashed the ball home from close range.

The goal changed the mood around the ground, and soon the hosts poured forward again – with Aleksandr Volodko firing just over the bar from the edge of the area.

The hosts continued to press forward in search of another goal, but we were able to see it out to secure our fifth win in six games. 

AS IT HAPPENED

See how the game unfolded through our play-by-play coverage of the match.

WILSHERE WATCH

Jack Wilshere was in fabulous form in Belarus, linking the midfield and attack and creating a host of chances for his team-mates.

Here are some of his highlights from a memorable display:

8 - Nelson cuts in from the right and finds Wilshere, who slips it into Walcott in the area but his shot hits the post and his follow-up is blocked

9 - Another nice move as Giroud plays Wilshere into space to the left of the box, and he crosses to Walcott to score from close range

17 - Walcott finds space to the right of the box, and he crosses to the onrushing Wilshere who converts from close range… but he’s flagged offside

25 - Wilshere plays a beautiful ball in behind the defence to the onrushing Maitland-Niles and he squares the ball but Borisov desperately clear it for a corner… from which Rob Holding scores

33 - Wilshere combines beautifully with Giroud on the edge of the area and races through, but the ball bounces up and hits his hand and the whistle goes

43 - Walcott’s shot is palmed just wide after a driving run and pass by Wilshere

WHAT IT MEANS

After two games, we lead Group H with six points from a possible six


WHAT’S NEXT

Newly-promoted Brighton & Hove Albion are the visitors to Emirates Stadium on Sunday for the lunchtime kick off.

We have won our last four matches against them, although the last time we hosted them was on February 5, 1983 – a 3-1 victory at Highbury. 

News

Holding - I'm over the moon with that goal

While Olivier Giroud celebrated his 100th goal in Arsenal colours on Thursday night, Rob Holding was toasting his first competitive strike in our 4-2 win over BATE Borisov.

The 22-year-old defender found the net in the 25th minute, turning the ball home from close range after Per Mertesacker had got his head to a corner.

Rob spoke to Arsenal.com post-match - and this is what he said:

on how it felt to score his first Arsenal goal…
It’s a proud moment to score my first competitive goal. I got one against Chivas last year on the tour, so to get my first competitive one I’m over the moon and the celebration showed it.

on the goal itself…
I just went round the back post. Per got the flick on and it just fell in front of me. It was hard to miss!

on saying off-camera that he should’ve had two goals…
Yes, I should’ve had two! With the left-footed one I just couldn’t get my foot wrapped around it, to bring it in. It hit the post but I’m sure I’ll get another one, one day.

on how much it means to him…
I’ve been feeling my own pressure to score my first goal. I’m due a goal and to get that now, hopefully I can go on and get some more.

on hitting the bar at Wembley…
I just skimmed the bar at Wembley so it was coming! It took a bit longer than I wanted to.

on whether he ever sets himself goal targets then…
Yes. I like to say five plus is a good return for a centre-half. I aim for that and if I get more than that then I’ll be more than happy.

on the game…
It was a bit frustrating. We made it difficult ourselves. In the first 10 minutes we were moving the ball fast and we were creating chance after chance. But then a bit of sloppy play in the second half, giving it away, they countered on us. They’re a good team at countering, they attack and counter with pace, which made it difficult for us. But we managed to hold on.

on six points from a possible six so far in the Europa League…
Pretty good. We can’t get carried away. You’ve got to go to each game with the same confidence and same preparation and go on and get full maximum points.

News

Willock - I'm happy the boss has faith in me

Joe Willock is determined to make the most of every opportunity he gets.

Since impressing on our pre-season tour of Australia and China, the 18-year-old has featured in the Carabao Cup and the Europa League - and he took time to thank Arsene Wenger for his trust after our 4-2 win over BATE Borisov on Thursday night.

Here's what Joe told Arsenal.com:

on making his full debut…
Yes it was good, it was something that I’ve also dreamed of as a child and finally I’ve done it. I’m just happy that the boss had faith in me, but yes it was good.

on the pre-match nerves…
Well I thought I would start from yesterday’s training. I was in the set-pieces and today the boss confirmed it to me and he said just go out there and do your thing. I wasn’t really nervous, but yes it was good.

on the atmosphere…
Well yes, but to be honest I approach every game the same. I go out there and do my best, whether it’s in front of 80,000 or 10,000 I’m not really bothered, I just do my best, but yes it was good. It was quite loud but I enjoyed it.

On Wilshere’s performance…
He was terrific. He’s just getting his fitness back and hopefully he’ll push on and carry on playing.

On playing with more experienced players…
Yes they help me, they told me how to get through the game. Yes they help me looking at them, seeing what they do in a game. It inspires me, so it’s good.

on getting first team opportunities…

Yes it’s good for me to play. I’m just trying to push on and play my best really.