Arsenal came out on top in an entertaining game against BATE Borisov, a match where neither defence looked particularly good.
The Gunners were 3-0 up after 26 minutes and looked in complete control thanks to a Theo Walcott double and a Rob Holding tap-in.
Mirko Ivanic got one back minutes later, before Olivier Giroud made it 4-1 from the with a spot-kick – his 100t goal for Arsenal – after a questionable penalty decision.
Mikhail Gordeychuk scored the game’s sixth goal, and poor defending at each end meant there could easily have been more.
Wilshere can have an Arsenal future
Jack Wilshere was once seen as one of the brightest prospects in the world.
Just two years ago, Barcelona legend Xavi had this to say about him: “He has an excellent passing range, an ability not to lose the ball, it is clear that he has had his education at Arsenal.
“For many years now the one position England have not struggled with is world-class midfield players.
“Paul Scholes, and then more recently Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard.
“Now I see Wilshere as the future of English football.”
But he’s had an injury-hit career and that’s really stunted his progress, even while on loan at Bournemouth last season.
With his lack of game time for Arsenal, it’s easy to forget just how good he can be, but Wilshere showed his quality – albeit not against one of the best teams in Europe.
Yet, he has to take any opportunity that comes to him and it was obvious from the get go that he was up for it in Belarus and was controlling the play, even from his advanced position in the two behind Giroud.
Just six minutes in, he played a lovely ball from the edge of the box through to Walcott, who hit the post, but those two combining were a warning that BATE didn’t heed.
With nine minutes on the clock, Wilshere played a lovely one-two with Giroud, before a quick burst of pace saw him free of the four defenders who were surrounding him at the start of the move.
He then linked a beautiful ball across for Walcott to put it in the back of the net for the opener.
The problem for him will be that the position he thrived in is where Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez regularly feature for the Gunners, so there isn’t much hope of him getting in the team at the moment.
But with the two out of contract in the summer, he may be the long-term replacement to them Arsenal need. If he can stay fit.
Europa League not a priority but could be a crucial competition
It may seem strange after a win, but it’s clear that the Europa League isn’t a priority for Arsène Wenger.
Yes, they have a hectic schedule coming up but they made nine changes.
Perhaps Arsenal will start to take it more seriously later on, as it may be one of their best routes back into the Champions League.
They only need to look at Manchester United, who have been able to buy players to make them title contenders after their sixth-placed finish due to qualifying for the Champions League because of their Europa League victory.
But with this not being a priority, it gives the fringe players the chance to put pressure on the first-team options – if they impress regularly, can follow the likes of Harry Kane at rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
He made his point by scoring in the Europa League before he got a proper Premier League chance, and the rest is history.
BATE will want to do better
BATE Borisov are no mugs, back in 2012, they beat Bayern Munich 3-1 at home and have kept four clean sheets in their last five games.
In fact, going into the game against Arsenal, the only defeat in their last ten European games was a 2-0 loss to Barcelona, including a win over Roma and a draw against Bayer Leverkusen.
After Denis Scherbitsky’s awful pass helped Walcott to make it 2-0, they were always fighting a losing battle.
Perhaps that’s credit to Arsenal’s class early on, even with nine changes, but they were far too vulnerable from set pieces.
Their 4-1-4-1 caused Arsenal no problems until they went 3-0 down – before then they failed to put any real pressure on the ball.
They may have caused a few problems in attack but that was only after they were behind.
They will need to improve defensively if they want to get out of Group H – they can't go on gifting three-goal leads early on.
Two goals but not Walcott’s best performance
Like Wilshere, Walcott was once tipped as English football’s next big thing, but his career has stalled in recent years.
He’s probably been the biggest casualty of the switch to 3-4-3, with none of the roles properly suiting him as much as a wide role in a 4-2-3-1.
He’s fighting with Sánchez, Danny Welbeck, Alex Iwobi and Özil for the role off the main striker, like Wilshere is.
The first half was a triumph for the 28-year-old as he scored twice and hit the post, showing how he can still be dangerous when given the opportunity.
But, he also showed why he isn’t being picked in the second half, often making the wrong decision, such as when him and Wilshere were through on goal, and he went for the shot rather than playing it to his team-mate for a tap in.
As BATE started to push forward, he became anonymous.
Questions over Arsenal’s defence
Arsenal were very good in attack, but that was largely down to BATE’s poor defending.
Whenever the Gunners went forward it looked like they could score, but whenever the home side attacked, Arsenal’s defence looked fragile.
The Gunners went into the match on the back of three clean sheets in all competitions, but it was hard to see how they managed that here.
Of course, Holding, Per Mertesacker and Shkodran Mustafi aren’t Wenger’s first-choice back three pairing, but they are all experienced players.
With Reiss Nelson and Ainsley Maitland-Niles as wing backs, they often were left exposed, underlining the problems with playing attacking-minded players in those positions.
If BATE’s finishing was a bit better, they could have easily had more than two.