Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud net in Arsenal win over BATE Borisov

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Mertesacker is to retire at the season's end to become the club's academy manager, and he similarly recognises the importance of those younger players gaining first-team experience.

But how did the Gunners perform against the Belarussian champions?

The forgotten man then lofted a cross centrally to Walcott and after his initial header was palmed out by Denis Scherbitski, the former England worldwide was on hand to stab the rebound home.

The global break for the matches of the teams allowed Arsenal to restructure and continue the season much more successfully than the Gunners started it.

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

Goalkeeper Denis Scherbitskiy sent a pass straight to the feet of the grateful Walcott, who bided his time before finding the bottom corner with his low shot.

Scherbitiski made amends on one particular occasion to tip away another Walcott effort away at full-stretch to temporarily deny his hat-trick.

The Arsenal striker scored from the penalty spot in the 49th minute of his side's UEFA Europa League clash against BATE to reach his century for the club.

Given that the Polish official, Daniel Stefanski, had allowed Nemanja Milunovic's elbow into Joe Willock's face to go unpunished it was unusual refereeing. No sooner had Holding shinned Per Mertesacker's flick-on into the net - the 22-year-old was to thump the ball against the BATE post before the break - than Borisov scored.

There were all sorts of culprits for Borisov's second.

Mikhail Gordeichuk made it 4-2 in the 67th minute when he blasted a close-range shot past Ospina and Aleksandr Volodko wasted a glorious opportunity to make it a more nervous final few minutes for Arsenal when he fired wide. "He just needs a run of games and 90 minutes".

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