Arsenal came roaring back from their shock first-leg defeat against Belarusian opposition BATE Borisov to win 3-0 here at the Emirates.
An own goal from Zakhar Volkov followed by strikes from Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos in the 39th and 60th minute were enough to see the Gunners through to the next round.
A reaction was expected of Unai Emery’s side following the shock 1-0 defeat in the Borisov Arena as they started the match in a very high tempo.
And that earned them the reward as early as the 4th minute as Zakhar Volkom tapped a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cross into his own net.
That gave the North London side immense surge of belief and confidence going forward and what followed was a relentless battering in the BATE defence.
But the Belarusian side defended in numbers and defended well to keep the tie hanging in balance while creating some dangerous looking chances for themselves on the break.
But on the 38th minute, Mustafi thumped a header in the visitor’s goal effectively crushing BATE’s resolve.
The match was finally put to bed when Sokratis, who came in as a substitute for Koscielny, got into the end of another brilliant corner by Xhaka to put the game to bed.
Arsenal fans were obviously pleased with the solid performance, especially after the horror of the first leg.
And in the 92nd minute, Granit Xhaka did something that left them even more delighted.
BATE striker Dubajic went hard on Nacho Monreal which left the Spanish left-back gasping in agony.
Xhaka quickly came forward and confronted the Serb and even went as far as shoving him on the chest.
It required a prompt intervention from Sokratis to prevent the things from getting ugly but the Swiss kept going at it and even argued with the match referee.
Have a look at it here –
He was certainly lucky to get away with this without a booking but the Arsenal fans loved the way he stepped up for his teammate and showed great solidarity.