An under-strength Arsenal XI survived a late fightback from BATE Borisov to secure a 4-2 victory that keeps them on course to progress in the Europa League.
In a game of little quality beyond the superb Jack Wilshere, it was goals from the recalled trio of Theo Walcott (twice), Rob Holding and Olivier Giroud who sealed all three points at the Borisov Arena in Belarus as much as David Ospina’s goalkeeping.
Mirko Ivanic and Mikhail Gordeichuk netted for the hosts.
What they said
Tweet of the match
Star man – Wilshere
On the same day he was left out of the latest England squad, the 25-year-old midfielder proved he still has so much to offer with his vision and ball-playing ability that proved so consistently lethal in the final third.
View from the bench
Arsene Wenger made nine changes to a winning team but even if his gamble was rewarded with victory, this was not the one-sided win the scoreline suggested. Had Wilshere been used in central midfield as opposed to in the front three, he would likely have made a significant difference; such inexperience in those areas will eventually be punished.
Moan of the match
That Arsenal’s back three was one that could easily start in the Premier League, and was still stretched as regularly as it was, shows there remains a worrying lack of quality there when Laurent Koscielny is absent. It could be that that undermines their ambition to return to the Champions League.
Who’s up next?
Arsenal v Brighton; Premier League – Sunday, October 1
Dinamo Minsk v BATE Borisov; Belarusian Premier League – Sunday, October 1