Wenger praises Wilshere's 'outstanding' contribution as Arsenal beat BATE

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Making his third competitive appearance for Arsenal, the 17-year-old earned plaudits for his performance in a 4-2 win over BATE Borisov in Europa League action on Thursday.

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The Walcott opened the scoring after nine minutes with a volley from close range, after some good work by Jack Wilshere.

Arsenal were in complete control, and the only surprise was that it took the Gunners until the 22nd minute to extend their lead - and it was a gift. Cologne's defeat in Belgrade makes it likely both Arsenal and Red Star will qualify for the knockout phase with something to spare.

Nearly immediately after that in the ninth minute, Wilshere played a one-two with Giroud to beat three defenders and then square a cross towards Walcott, who after watching Denis Scherbitski save his header, routinely finished the rebound.

It is clear where Arsene Wenger's priorities lie this season, considering the weakened squad that he has taken out to Belarus, but nothing less than a win will do for Arsenal.

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Theo Walcott bagged a first-half brace. However, Scherbitski did make a fabulous, fingertip save to deny Walcott his third - a fig leaf for a awful display.

Walcott made it 2-0 midway through the first half after an terrible error by BATE goalkeeper Denis Scherbitski, who miscued a clearance straight to the England forward.

However, three minutes into the second half, Arsenal netted their fourth thanks to a penalty from Giroud, who sent the ball into the bottom corner after Stanislaw Drahun was harshly adjudged to have fouled Shkodran Mustafi.

Dragun was booked for something we aren't quite sure of, and Giroud stroked home the penalty for his 100th Arsenal goal.

Arsenal conceded two goals, as Mirko Ivanic and Mikhail Gordeichuk bagged for the hosts, and did not look convincing at the back.