Arsenal: Cech, Lichsteiner, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Iwobi, Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang
Subs: Leno, Sokratis, Ramsey, Torreira, Suarez, Kolasoinac, Nketiah
Arsenal are through to the Europa League Round of 16 after a 3-0 win over BATE Borisov at the Emirates this evening.
Unai Emery handed Mesut Ozil just his second start of 2019, recalling the German as he shifted to a back four with the extra man further forward in a must-win game.
There was an early sign of intent when Alex Iwobi had the first attempt on goal in the second minute but the keeper was equal to it. An early goal would go a long way to settle the nerves and it came in the 4th minute. Aubameyang beat his man on the right hand side, drove forward, crossed it and Volkov stuck a leg out and put the ball into his own net. 1-0.
Iwobi almost doubled the lead shortly after, curling just wide after good pressing won the ball back high up the pitch, before Ozil set up Mkhitaryan but he could only balloon his shot over the bar.
The visitors were quick to fight back, with Skayvsh firing into the side-netting, and they would have been level if not for Lichtsteiner clearing off the line when the shot had beaten Petr Cech.
Xhaka tested the keeper with a rocket from 30 yards, Aubameyang had a fairly tame effort and headed over from an Iwobi cross, and for all the possession Arsenal weren’t really creating clear cut chances as the game hit the half hour mark.
Monreal created for Ozil but the German miskicked before Xhaka fired wide with his right foot, Lichtsteiner volleyed over from outside the box, Ozil volleyed over after good work from Mkhitaryan, but in the 40th minute the lead was doubled. From an Arsenal corner Mustafi rose highest to thump home a header and make it 2-0, a lead the Gunners took into the half-time break.
Neither manager made a change ahead of the second period, and early on good play between Ozil and Mkitaryan allowed Guendouzi to curl a shot beyond the far post. Skayvsh threatened at the other end but shot straight at Cech, and a goal would have meant Arsenal had to score again due to the away goals rule.
Iwobi had a good effort palmed away by the keeper, and in the 56th minute Emery was forced into a change when Koscielny picked up what appeared to be a calf problem and was replaced by Sokratis. Iwobi created a chance for Mkhitaryan but he headed wide.
Alex Hleb came on for the visitors to warm applause from the home fans, but it was the Arsenal sub who had the immediate impact. Xhaka, who provided the assist for Mustafi’s goal, curled in another good ball and Sokratis was there to head home after the keeper came and missed it. 3-0.
Lucas Torreira came on to replace Guendouzi in the 63rd minute, Ozil had a chance but put it wide, Aubameyang too had a chance but clipped his shot beyond the far post, and later put a free kick through the wall but straight at the keeper.
Denis Suarez came on for Mkhitaryan in the 78th minute to make his home debut for the club, but as a contest the game was over. There were shouts for an Arsenal penalty which were waved away, and the match ebbed to its inevitable conclusion.
In the end, a comfortable night, if not a particularly exciting one, and we await the draw for the Round of 16 which takes place tomorrow at noon.