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Arsenal's fringe stars stake claim in front of record-low crowd

Arsenal 6 BATE Borisov 0

By Jim Van Wijk

Arsenal cruised to victory over BATE Borisov in their final Europa League group game as Arsene Wenger's fringe players made another case for Premier League involvement.

With top spot in Group H already assured, the Gunners made light work of the Belarusian champions in front of a record-low Emirates crowd.

While the official figure was 54,648, it is understood fewer than 30,000 fans were present to see Arsenal run riot with an emphatic and easy 6-0 win.

Mathieu Debuchy's second goal for the club got the ball rolling before Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere netted, with a Denis Polyakov own goal, an Olivier Giroud penalty and a fine Mohamed Elneny strike wrapping things up.

Walcott, Wilshere and Giroud have yet to start a league game this season.

The trio are likely to drop out of the side which travels to take on Southampton in the Premier League at midday on Sunday as the likes of Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Alexandre Lacazette return.

For Arsenal's second string, this was a cakewalk, with Elneny setting the tone early on by hitting the outside of the post.

Debuchy was widely expected to leave Arsenal in the summer but has worked his way back into Wenger's side and arrowed home a perfectly-placed drive to put the hosts ahead with his first goal in almost three years.

Danny Welbeck had a good chance to double the advantage, latching onto Wilshere's pinpoint pass before shooting straight at BATE keeper Denis Scherbitski.

Walcott had already been denied by Scherbitski when he doubled Arsenal's lead as Nemanja Milunovic could only turn Welbeck's poor touch into his path.

Walcott thought he had a second, but this time Milunovic was in the right place at the right time, clearing off the line.

Wilshere, without an Arsenal goal since May 2015, saw an effort from the edge of the box tipped over before breaking his duck with a well-taken strike.

The fourth came shortly after the break, Wilshere again involved as his inch-perfect pass to Walcott led to the forward's low cross being turned past his own keeper by Polyakov.

Giroud slotted home a penalty at the second time of asking as Milunovic was adjudged to have fouled Walcott and Elneny completed the rout.

Arsenal head into Monday's round of 32 draw with the likes of Celtic, Napoli and Borussia Dortmund as potential opponents.

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