Arsenal overturned the fixture as Unai Emery’s men were too good for the underwhelming Belarusians. The Gunners were dominant right from the beginning and their domination was evident on the 3-0 scoreline. An early own goal from Zakhar Volkov gave the Gunners the boost that they needed followed by a stunning header by Shkodran Mustafi from a pinpoint corner as the home side doubled their lead into half time. Sokratis did the job of putting the icing in the cake with another great header to seal the tie and progress to the round of 16.

Ozil – the shining beacon for Arsenal?

There are lot of speculations regarding his future at the Emirates and even Arsenal boss Unai Emery has shown reluctance of using him at times. The German was a sensation for the Gunners with his terrific vision and swift passing to unlock the BATE Borisov defence. He played the perfect midfield orchestrator role laid defence-splitting passes on both flanks as Arsenal completely dominated possession and attacked through both the channels mainly using Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Alex Iwobi’s blistering pace.

Ozil is always criticised for his consistency and work rate in crunch matches but today he was definitely the most creative player donning the Arsenal jersey. Performances like this can change the course of his future and he may gradually earn his manager’s trust. With Aaron Ramsey already on his way out Mesut Ozil can be a vital cog in that Arsenal midfield.

Arsenal great at scoring from set-pieces but poor at defending them?

The Gunners were impressive on the night right from the start as they dominated proceeding throughout the match. Emery’s men were sharp from set-pieces as both Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis scored from corners. Overall the Gunners were a threat in the air for the BATE defenders and kept them on their toes whenever they conceded a freekick or corner.

However, the story was different on the other end of the pitch. BATE had some set-pieces as well and they managed to make most out of it as winger Maksim Skavysh got a golden opportunity to score with only Petr Cech to beat he could not generate enough power on the shot resulting in an easy save for the veteran custodian. Arsenal defenders did not deal with deliveries inside the box with conviction and hence a lot of times it resulted in goalmouth scrambles. Unai Emery’s men will face better opposition in future in this tournament and if they have any hopes of bagging the silverware they should look to solidify the back-line.

Alexander Hleb’s emotional return to Emirates

The midfielder was disheartened back in 2017 when BATE was drawn against his former side Arsenal int he same competition and his request to join the side to travel to London was turned down. Fate had other ideas in store for him as the 37-year old returned to BATE and the Belarusians again went on to draw Arsenal in the round of 32 which allowed him to travel to Emirates the place which he holds very close to his heart. Hleb’s three-year-long career at Arsenal under the tutelage of Arsene Wenger was special for the Arsenal fans and he was often touted as one of the best in the world during his time at London.

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He might not have lived fully to the expectations of thousands of football fans but the Belarus international got his last dream fulfilled and now he can happily draw the ending line to his long illustrious career and hang his boots with pride.