McGuane and Nketiah make debuts as Arsenal beat BATE Borisov

Marcus McGuane and Eddie Nketiah came on to make their competitive first-team debuts as Arsenal beat BATE Borisov 4-2 in the Europa League tonight. 
In an eventful game Arsenal established a three-goal lead courtesy of a brace from Theo Walcott and Rob Holding’s first goal for the club. 

However, BATE managed to reduce the deficit through Mirko Ivanic. 

Arsenal went 4-1 ahead when Olivier Giroud scored a penalty – his 100th goal for the Gunners. 

BATE, though, continued to cause Arsenal problems and scored again through Mikhail Gordeychuk. 

As far as young players are concerned Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock both started the game and produced encouraging displays, while Ainsley Maitland-Niles featured at left wing-back.  

Meanwhile, Vlad Dragomir and Charlie Gilmour received their first call-ups to the squad and were unused substitutes. 


  1. Willock was very good for about 65 minutes. Tired and BATE overran the midfield a bit after that. Hating AMN always playing on the left, and Nelson being restricted with defensive duties.
    Nice for McGuane to get on, but don’t rate his long term chances at all.
    And good to see Nketiah get on.

    (ps, why am I still in mod?)

    1. Reiss Nelson is being hyped to the tilt. Some of the Hartson and Keown commentary were verging on the ridiculous. He had a decent game, not an extraordinary game.
      On the other hand Joe Willock blew me away. I thought that physically he was going to be dominated. But for 65 minutes, Joe Willock was bossing the midfield. Retrieving ball and making forward passes not safe sideways or backward passes. Elnany was nearly always playing safe. Once Willock tired especially against fresh legs, Arsenal started to lose control of the game. He looks like he could the player we were all hoping Wilshere would be. A mix of Pirlo and Vidal. Control aggression with forward purpose.
      I know that McGuane’s Arsenal future does not look very rosy, but at least he will be able to claim having played for Arsenal first team in an European tie. On top of that, the Europa league and Coquelin injury may give him the opportunity to grow and show the boss he deserve an extra chance.

    1. I agree with you even with the special circumstances: Akpom just returned from injury and Nketiah despite a fox in the box can also play on the wing.
      I am one of the few that never really rated Akpom. To me he is a sub Benik Afobe. I see him as a decent Championship or third tier Premiership player. Never going to be an Arsenal star, whereas Eddie (if he keeps his feet on the ground and stay free if injury) will be Arsenal main striker in 5 years. Akpom has pace and power, but despite being selfish in front of goal, his goal scoring is not that great nor is his linkup play.

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