Arsenal’s first away game in the Europa League ended with a win. BATE Borisov fought hard, and even netted two goals, to make life difficult for the Gunners.
The team showed good resolve in the game, hanging on to their two goal cushion until the final whistle. The game was most influenced by three people, and it just so happens that all of their last names start with a W.
Keep reading to find out who they are, and who our Man of the Match is!
After the Boss switched formations several months ago, Walcott was left out in the cold. The only position that he plays well is winger, but with the only wide players in the 3-4-2-1 being wing-backs, the Englishman just can’t get into the starting XI.
In Belarus, Walcott scored a brace (and struck the post once), and his movement off the ball complimented his teammates well. While one game can be written off, let’s not forget he was the team’s second-highest scorer last season.
If his form holds, which past years’ inconsistencies dictate as iffy, he will really make team selection a nightmare for our man Arsene.
The Boss took a few chances today, as he has in almost every match this season so far. Ainsley Maitland-Niles again played as LWB, although he is a natural CM, and Reiss Nelson played the other wing, despite his prowess in attack.
Against the likes of FC Cologne and BATE Borisov, such risks can be taken, but should the youngsters get called into action against the big clubs, the team could pay dearly for such hazards.
However, since he did win the game, let’s not focus on the doom-and-gloom. Especially in the first half, the Gunners passing game was irresistible, and the team worked hard of the ball.
There were a few defensive mistakes, and Arsenal did allow a few opportunities to BATE throughout the game. Personally I lost count of the number of times the ball pin-balled around the visitor’s box.
In the end, though, the team’s four goals were enough. It seems no matter the formation, the raw talent in this team will produce goals.
Man of the Match!
It’s almost hard to believe that over the summer, many pundits said Wilshere should leave Arsenal. Now, just over a month into the season, those same analysts will wonder if Wenger should start Jacky-boy game in and game out.
The more advanced position allowed Wilshere to link play between the midfield and the attack, and was at the heart of everything the team did offensively. He assisted Walcott’s opener, put him in on goal once earlier, but the winger couldn’t quite finish the move, and sent Maitland-Niles in, but he failed to find Giroud.
All that happened before BATE’s first goal.
Wilshere’s fitness also seems to be back, as he played the full 90 minutes again. That should be a big confidence boost for the young man whose career is regularly interrupted by injury.
Time for your opinion, Gooner!
Who is your Man of the Match? How many more goals will Giroud get for Arsenal? Can the Gunners win the Europa League?
Let me know in the comments below!