Minute-by-minute updates from Europa League clash

Annette Crawford
December 8, 2017

Marko Gobeljic (L) and Damien Le Tallec of FK Crvena Zvezda (R) battle for possession with Theo Walcott of Arsenal during the UEFA Europa League group H match.

The hosts would go in 3-0 up at the break, courtesy of a thumping finish from Wilshere, his first in two and a half years, after some sharp footwork in the box. However, those who did turn up on a chilly north London evening were treated to a one-sided contest, with the hosts impressing against a poor BATE side.

The few hundred Borisov fans who made the trip - or who were expats in London attending the match - also deserve credit for making the effort, along with those hardy souls in the home areas who used their season tickets.

It remains unclear how much Arsenal are seeking for an outright sale, but the Gunners are thought to be very much willing to negotiate over Walcott's departure.

Otherwise, as social media confirmed once the figure was released, this proud club will be subject to mockery and derision on a huge scale - because this correspondent has seen bigger crowds at the Emirates for FA Youth Cup matches.

And our boys did not let us down, opening the scoring just after the 10 minute mark through a delightful Mathieu Debuchy strike. The goal was also the club's 100th of 2017.

Jack Wilshere was relieved to get on the Arsenal scoresheet on Thursday night. Indeed, the 3-4-2-1 system has somewhat rendered Walcott's position redundant in the starting line-up as Arsenal now deploy tactics that don't play to his strengths.

Wenger's men dictated the game with crisp passes and elegant build-up play before Danny Welbeck's trickery took him into the box after 37 minutes and, just as it looked as though the ball had run away from Arsenal, Walcott pounced and fired it home from the edge of the six-yard box. To add insult to injured pride, it was an own goal.

Giroud then retook his 64th minute penalty to make it 5-0 before Mohamed Elneny struck a curling shot to make it 6-0.

Although Arsenal remain one of the favourites to win the Europa League, the presence of exiting Champions League teams Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Napoli and RB Leipzig could damage their chances.

As expected, the attendance for the game was rather less than the 54,000 tickets apparently sold by Arsenal.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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