After a terrible round-of-32 first leg against BATE Borisov made fans nervous of an early Europa League exit, Arsenal breezed through the second without any problems.
After a 1-0 defeat in Belarus, Arsenal knew they needed to score quickly to turn things around at the Emirates Stadium. Thankfully, Borisov were willing to help, with defender Zakhar Volkov turning the ball into his own net in the first five minutes.
Despite one scary moment when a deflected cross almost led to a goal before Stephan Lichtsteiner’s intervention, the away side very rarely threatened after that. Arsenal had all the chances, but the second and third goals ended up coming from unlikely sources, with Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos heading home.
The Gunners will now progress to the last-16, where it’s less likely they’ll be able to get away with such a disastrous first-leg performance.
Let’s have a look at our individual player ratings for the match.
1Goalkeeper and Defence
Petr Cech 6
Cech really didn’t have much to do in this match. He made one save, and he was bailed out once by Lichtsteiner. His distribution was generally good, although he did kick the ball straight out of play at one point.
Stephan Lichtsteiner 8
Before the game, Arsenal fans on social media were berating Unai Emery for the inclusion of the Swiss international, who has been poor in recent matches. Funnily enough, he went on to have what was probably his best-ever game for the club.
As mentioned, his best moment was a clearance off the line to deny Borisov a vital away goal. He also created a couple of good chances and won five out of his six individual duels, so it was a good day all around. You could even forgive him for one bizarre attempt at a volley from outside the box.
Shkodran Mustafi 8
Mustafi had a really easy job defensively, as he didn’t even have to make a tackle throughout the 90 minutes. The one thing Arsenal did require from him was winning aerial duels when Borisov played long balls, which he did very effectively (88% success rate).
At the other end, Mustafi headed home a crucial second goal, getting ahead of the defender well and finding the target.
Laurent Koscielny 7
Koscielny had a very similar game to Mustafi, winning a lot of aerial duels but having to do very little else defensively. He ended up going off early in the second half, as Emery continues to be cautious with the centre-back after his recent return from injury.
Nacho Monreal 6.5
Monreal supported the attack well, but he did let Borisov players in behind him for one dangerous counter. That’s the risk you take as an Arsenal full-back, but it’s only worth it if you create a bit more than the Spaniard did. It was still a decent performance overall.
Click ‘Next’ for Midfield, Forwards and Substitutes