BATE Borisov 2 Arsenal 4: Olivier Giroud brings up his century as young guns impress
Turns out there are some things you can win with kids. Arsene Wenger’s strikingly young team returned from Belarus on Thursday night with all three points, no injuries and only a couple of light palpitations.
There were two goals for Theo Walcott, one for Rob Holding and one for Olivier Giroud from the penalty spot. And yet Arsenal made things far harder for themselves than they really needed to, doing far more defending than they really wanted to, twice allowing Bate Borisov back into a game that should have been over within the first 25 minutes.
That it was not reflects well on Bate, roared on by a capacity crowd of 17,000 in Belarus’s ninth-largest city and certainly good enough to threaten for long periods. Their 17 shots on goal - one more than Arsenal - told a tale of flimsy defending, fine goalkeeping by David Ospina and a team that still has a tendency to misplace its composure at the most inopportune moments.