BATE Borisov: Willock, Nelson and Wilshere start as Wenger makes nine changes

Walcott had bagged twice in the opening 22 minutes, with Rob Holden also netting early on, to put the Gunners in command in Belarus, but allowed Giroud to take a second-half penalty. However, Scherbitski did make a fabulous, fingertip save to deny Walcott his third - a fig leaf for a terrible display.

Arsenal were in complete control, and the only surprise was that it took the Gunners until the 22nd minute to extend their lead - and it was a gift.

Nelson, faced with a defender on the wing, dummied left, right, then left again to leave his man sprawling across the floor.

But credit to BATE, who went from being totally shell-shocked to pulling a goal back.

The Englishman made a very lively start to his second European outing before wowing fans with one particular moment of skill.

Borisov reduced the deficit nearly immediately when Ivanic headed Aleksei Rios' fine cross past David Opsina who then did well to keep out Igor Stasevich's inswinging free-kick.

Three minutes before the break Walcott was denied his hat-trick with a fine fingertip save from Scherbitski. Holding hit the post from the resulting corner as BATE struggled to deal with Arsenal's setpieces.

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Giroud is stuck on 99 goals for Arsenal.

"He is in good company, when you look at the number of goals he's scored".

Even then, owing partly to their inexperience and Wilshere's advanced role when he could have offered direction from central midfield, Arsenal's lack of shape gave their hosts further opportunities.

On the 76th minute, Marcus McGuane came on for his Arsenal debut to replace Reiss Nelson.

A brace from Theo Walcott helped Arsenal get the better of BATE Borisov in Belarus and establish themselves at the top of Group H in the Europa League.

With no recognised left-back included in the team, Arsenal could see Josh Da Silva make his European debut for the senior team.

  • Tabitha Byrd