Theo Walcott scored twice as Arsenal beat BATE Borisov 4-2 in an open encounter in their Europa League group-stage clash in Belarus.
Walcott’s early double put the visitors in control, Rob Holding’s close-range finish made it 3-0, but Mirko Ivanic pulled one back before the break for BATE.
Olivier Giroud regained the three-goal cushion with a penalty after half-time, but Mikhail Gordeichuk made it 4-2 with just over 20 minutes remaining from six yards.
The result means Arsenal are in control of Group H, sitting top with six points from two games, two points ahead of Red Star Belgrade.
Arsenal went close early on through Walcott, who hit the post via Jack Wilshere’s deft through ball, but Walcott did score moments later, tapping home on the rebound after his initial header from Wilshere’s superbly-worked cross was saved.
An error from BATE goalkeeper Denis Shcherbitski handed Walcott his second, capitalising on a woeful clearance before drilling into the bottom left corner from 12 yards.
It was 3-0 within 25 minutes as Holding got his first Arsenal goal, turning into the net from close range after Walcott’s corner was glanced on by Per Mertesacker.
BATE pulled one back three minutes later through Ivanic, who headed into the top right corner from the near post from Aleksey Rios’ pacey cross.
Walcott was inches from a hat-trick before the break, forcing Shcherbitski into a superb fingertip save, before Holding hit the post from the resulting corner as BATE struggled to deal with Arsenal’s set pieces.
It was 4-1 just after the break as Stanislav Dragun pulled the shirt of Shkodran Mustafi inside the box, with Giroud making no mistake from the penalty spot for his 100th Arsenal goal.
The sixth goal of the night fell to the hosts as Gordeichuk cleaned up from six yards after David Ospina had parried a close-range header, and moments later Aleksandr Volodko blazed over a clear chance from 12 yards out as Arsenal began to show fragility in the closing stages.