BATE Borisov 1 Arsenal 0
Dragun 45

Arsenal were reduced to ten men when Alexandre Lacazette was shown a straight red card for elbowing Aleksandar Filipovic five minutes from full time. By then, the Gunners had endured a horror show of a performance to leave Belarus a goal down in their Europa League first leg last 32 tie. The Gunners enjoyed seventy seven percent of the possession, but it was a Stanislav Dragun header on the stroke of half time which proved to be the undoing of Unai Emery’s side. Igor Stasevich floated in a free kick which Sead Kolasinac failed to respond to, allowed Dragun time to powerfully head past Petr Cech. The Gunners could and should have been ahead after 90 seconds. Kolasinac’s cross for the advanced Henrickh Mkhitaryan was met first time by the Armenian, but Denis Scherbitski got down well to make the save. The theme continued with both Kolasinac and Alex Iwobi tormenting Borisov from the left, but there was little in the way of penetration and the home side realised that they could sit back and contain the Gunners apparent sole form of attack. Former Gunner Alex Hleb started and played for 58 minutes, the 37 year old apparently came back for another season with Borisov, once he knew that there would be two Europa League games against his former club. Borisov are in their pre-season, but they demonstrated little in the way of ring rust and in the end achieved their first home win over an English side.

Once again Emery elected to do without the services of Mesut Ozil. No doubt he would have enjoyed the wide open spaces in Belarus. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang made the subs bench following his recent illness but even his 20 minute cameo role was not enough to get Arsenal on the score board. Lacazette was in fairness getting some clever shall we say marking by his opponents, and although he was being held by Filipovic, he should have know better than to react the way he did. His frustrations and that of a team which was driven forward by 19 year old Matteo Guendouzi were evident towards the end. Even the introduction of January loan signing Denis Suarez from Barcelona failed to ignite the Gunners’ fuse, as Emery’s side continued their woeful away day sequence.

Arsenal have lost three of their past four away games in all competitions, and the last time they came back from a European first leg away day loss to win over the two legs was in 2009-10 when they overcame Porto 6-2 on aggregate in the Champions League.

Emery will be looking for something similar next Thursday when Borisov come to North London.

“I trust in our players and I trust in our stadium and supporters,” he said. “There are two matches. Tonight’s match is important but we can’t [be knocked out in it], we are going to play a second match next week.

“I trust in our work to prepare for the next match and to have a different result at Emirates Stadium. I respect [BATE] and I know about them because we watched matches they played. An organised team, defensively a good team and good at transitions. We worked to stop them in these actions but they scored one goal and in the transitions we worked well to stop another situation defensively for us.”

The return fixture will kick off at 17:55 UK time because Chelsea are also at home in their Europa League second leg fixture to Malmo on the same night. Whatever the time, Arsenal will have to be better than this if they are to maintain their European ambitions for this season.