Wednesday 17 July 2019

Gunners fire blanks on grim night

BATE Borisov 1 Arsenal 0

Arsenal's Alexandre Lacazette is shown a red card by referee Srdjan Jovanovic. Photo: Reuters
Arsenal's Alexandre Lacazette is shown a red card by referee Srdjan Jovanovic. Photo: Reuters

Sam Dean

On a pitch that reminded Arsenal how far they have fallen from the glamour of the Champions League, Unai Emery's side produced a performance that showed just how far they still have to go before they are ready to return to European football's top table.

Winning the Europa League may well be Arsenal's best hope of qualifying for next season's Champions League, but they have a task on their hands to reach the round of 16 after this dreary display.

Bate's Stanislav Dragun scores his side's goal. Photo: AP
Bate's Stanislav Dragun scores his side's goal. Photo: AP

The Gunners never got going at the Borisov Arena more suited to a first-round FA Cup tie - and created very little in the way of clear-cut chances, with Stanislav Dragun's header on the stroke of half-time earning victory for the Belarusians.

Sloppy at the back for that solitary goal, Arsenal - who left Mesut Ozil at home - were agonisingly wasteful in attack.

It all got too much for Alexandre Lacazette, who will be suspended for next week's second leg after he was shown a straight red card for a petulant swing of an elbow in the dying moments.

The red mist had clearly descended for Lacazette, increasingly isolated in attack, and the sorry truth for Arsenal was that his elbow on Aleksandar Filipovic marked the first time they had made a real dent on BATE in the second half.

Arsenal's Nacho Monreal jumps for the ball with Bate's Nemanja Milic. Photo: AP
Arsenal's Nacho Monreal jumps for the ball with Bate's Nemanja Milic. Photo: AP

© Daily Telegraph, London

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