Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott hope they have given manager Arsene Wenger a “selection headache” by impressing during Arsenal’s comfortable Europa League win over Bate Borisov. Neither midfielder Wilshere nor forward Walcott have started a Premier League game for the Gunners this season, but both found the net as Arsenal finished their Group H campaign with a comprehensive victory.
The Gunners, who had already secured top spot, went ahead with an angled finish from defender Mathieu Debuchy. Walcott added Arsenal’s second with a close-range finish and Wilshere then scored a fine goal after he cut on to his left foot inside the penalty area and arrowed the ball into the net. Bate defender Denis Polyakov put Walcott’s low cross into his own net after half-time before striker Olivier Giroud converted from the penalty spot following Nemanja Milunovic’s trip on Walcott. Mohamed Elneny added a sixth with a curling effort after being set up by Wilshere.
In the wake of Arsenal’s 3-1 home defeat by Manchester United, this fixture represented a chance for some of their fringe players to impress. Wenger made 11 changes from the side that lost to United in the Premier League, although the starting line-up still boasted plenty of experience. Bate had a chance of qualifying for the knockout phase but did not present much of a test for the Gunners, who did not have to exert themselves to secure a routine victory. In truth, the margin of victory probably could have been even greater given Arsenal managed 22 shots on goal.