Walcott Nets 2, Giroud Scores 100th for Arsenal in Europa League Win Over BATE

Arsenal made it two wins in two matches to top Group H in the UEFA Europa League
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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.

The Gunners raced into a three-goal first half lead, courtesy of Walcott's goals and a Rob Holding tap-in. They were pegged back, first by Mirko Ivanić, and then Mikhail Gordeichuk in the second half after an Olivier Giroud penalty.

But a second-string Arsenal side had enough to secure the win, despite the occasional defensive lapse.

A laboured, slow start to the game was punctured in the eighth minute by a superb Arsenal move. Intricate interplay between Reiss Nelson and Jack Wilshere set Walcott through, but his poked effort struck the outside of the post.

Minutes later, however, Walcott put his side in front, meeting a Wilshere cross and converting from yards out.

The visitors were in complete control following the goal, and it wasn't long until their lead was doubled. A disastrous attempted clearance from goalkeeper Denis Scherbitski fell straight to the feet of Walcott who duly slotted the ball into the bottom corner.

Moments later, in what was quickly threatening to become a humiliating rout, Holding was on the end of an in-swinging corner to make it three.

From nowhere, though, Borisov's Ivanic met an accurate cross to pull a goal back for the hosts, who had been out-classed prior to their rare but successful forage forward.

There was a brief sense of optimism in the stands as a revitalised Borisov began to attack with some verve. But after four goals in the opening 30 minutes, there were to be no more for the remainder of a free-flowing, at times ludicrously open, first half.

Any slim hopes of a comeback were gone immediately after the break when Arsenal were awarded a penalty for a shirt pull in the box, and Giroud dispatched from the spot with ease.

Arsene Wenger's side were able to dictate the pace of the game having re-established their three-goal lead, while Borisov were left to search for another route back. They found one just after the hour mark, Gordeychuk rifling the ball past David Ospina after a rebounded header.

Arsenal had not been overly convincing defensively, particularly in the second half, and the hosts had clear opportunities to draw within one goal of their reputable opposition. 

But a third goal wasn't forthcoming, and Arsenal played out the final minutes to complete another Europa League victory.