"BATE is a good team, has good cohesion, good technical level, works well together, and we needed a good performance to beat them".

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If Giroud scores, it will be his 100th goal in an Arsenal shirt. Cologne's defeat in Belgrade makes it likely both Arsenal and Red Star will qualify for the knockout phase with something to spare.

The Belarusians piled forward and forced Arsenal stopper Ospina into a number of formulaic saves, interlaced by the Colombian's now signature erratic aerial decision making.

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

But Walcott was not to be denied less than two minutes later.

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Rob Holding also grabbed his first goal for the Gunners and Olivier Giroud converted a second-half penalty.

Two-goal hero Walcott said after the game that he was happy to sacrifice a potential treble to give team-mate Giroud the chance for something special.

And the boss has been true to his word, although the bench is full of inexperienced players, because we start with first team players like Giroud, Walcott, Elneny, Mertesacker and Holding.

The Frenchman slotted calmly from the penalty spot after Stanislaw Drahun was deemed to have pulled back Shkodran Mustafi. 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.

Ivanic grabbed a goal for BATE in the 27th minute with a firm header into the top corner.

Arsenal had not been overly convincing defensively, particularly in the second half, and the hosts had clear opportunities to draw within one goal of their reputable opposition.