Arsenal 6 – 0 BATE Borisov
Europa League Final Group Stage Match
BATE were NOT much of a threat tonight, despite them needing a win to qualify.
Wenger started a 433 formation, which was effective in beating BATE.
However, the game overall was satisfyingly boring. It seems odd to say, but it’s true.
As aforementioned, BATE were not a threat, and we dominated from start to finish.
Our passing was crisp, and our movement good, and Wilshere, Walcott, and Welbeck were linking up well in attack.
Debuchy opened the scoring with a low drive, and then after this the floodgates opened. BATE were well and truly drenched, in what supposedly is our biggest ever win in the incarnations of this competition (UEFA Cup/Europa League).
Walcott added a second following good work in the box from Welbeck, and well….it was satisfyingly boring, as mentioned.
Elneny, Giroud and Wilshere all got further goals, an own goal by Polyakov made it six and we will end up at the top of our group in fine style, seemingly.
This section of the report is short, since BATE were like a scared animal, and hardly had any shots on goal, nor attacks to threaten our goal. They clearly didn’t want to enter the Round of 16, but that is their issue not ours. Had they managed to put up a fight, they were only a point behind Red Star, who at the start of the night were in second place.
Ospina was back, and to be fair he had little to do. He certainly didn’t have to work to earn his clean sheet. Holding, Debuchy, Chambers, and Maitland-Niles played in the back four, and all were relatively secure without much BATE interference.
Ospina 5, Holding 6, Debuchy 7, Chambers 6, Maitland-Niles 6
Jack looked very sharp in a midfield three, with Elneny and Coquelin providing added support.
Wilshere 8, Elneny 7, Coq 6
Giroud was quiet, bar penalty, with Welbeck his usual industrious self. Walcott, apparently shut out for now from the starting eleven for PL games, played well – though who knows, it could be one of his last Arsenal appearances if the Everton transfer rumours are true.
Giroud 5, Welbeck 6, Walcott 7
This game was played in an almost exhibition spirit, and we were able to execute our inherent passing game without much difficulty.
If there is a negative to cite, it’s the attendance. Granted, we had already won the group. And BATE, with respect to them, are not the biggest draw out there. I guarantee though that if we play a better team in the knock-out rounds, the ground will not be a quarter full. I know the club only cites tickets sold, but I doubt the actual attendance (or the “sold” attendance”) was any higher than 25,000.
The club could provide incentives here. Namely offering a Category A game (vs. Liverpool, Chelsea, and City to come) at ¾ price or something. Or a ticket for half-price food from the vendors at any game. It doesn’t look good, though ultimately it is to be expected.
Whilst different players will go to Southampton, another exhibition match would be welcome. Though I’m sure Welbeck, Jack, or Giroud, would be in the squad, so they can liberally spread this spirit to help make it an easy game.
Man of the match – Wilshere
Showed guile and class, albeit against some pretty woeful opposition.
Honourable mention – Elneny
Scored a well-taken goal, and will feature in the World Cup. We have players of far better pedigree who will not attend (Alexis and Ramsey), but he gets too much of a bad rap from fans. I think he’s a capable player, and a worthy asset in our team.