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Six of the best as Gunners rout hapless BATE Borisov

SMILES ALL ROUND: Arsenal players celebrate

AN UNDERWHELMING Thursday night (December 7) at the Emirates saw Arsenal cement their place at the top of Group H of the Europa League with an easy 6-0 win over Belarusian side BATE Borisov.

The Gunners' squad did not feature any of the players who started in the 3-1 defeat to Manchester United and along with a visibly empty stadium, it was clear that most thought this was nothing more than a glorified training exercise.

They weren't far off with Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere and Mathieu Debuchy et al clearly keen to show why they should be near the starting line-up when Arsene Wenger decides his team for Sunday's game at Southampton.

In a world where you can only beat what is in front of you, the Gunners did their job and the fact that home goalkeeper David Ospina didn't make a save until the second-half suggests Wenger's men definitely had one of their easier nights.

After Walcott was fouled in the box, the ball dropped to Debuchy who fired home. It was the French defende'rs second goal in three years for the club.

Walcott was the next to get on the score sheet after some good work from Danny Welbeck in the box. Welbeck's shot was blocked but fell to the captain who powered home.

Wilshere, who was lively from the first whistle, got his much deserved goal at the second attempt. His first shot, from the edge of the box, was tipped over by Denis Scherbitski - who was undoubtedly his teams best player. But the BATE goalkeeper could not stop the second and the cheer from the sparse Emirates crowd along with his teammates' reaction showed that the midfielder is much loved at the club, as he debates his future in North London.

The fourth goal came in the 52nd minute when Denis Polyakov sent Wilshere's cross beyond his own keeper. Oliver Giroud was next to strike when Walcott was felled and he sent the spot kick into the top right corned at the second attempt after the referee blew the whistle when players encroached.

Mohammed Elneny completed the rout with a curling effort 16 minutes from time to sedt Wenger home with a smile and his 700th win.

It is unlikely it will be one that sticks in his memory, but it is another to add to the victories nonetheless.

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