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Arsenal v Red Star Belgrade player ratings, stats and reaction: Wilshere magic spares blushes for the Gunners

Arsenal needed just one moment of magic!

Olivier Giroud and Jack Wilshere saved Arsenal’s blushes as they fought their way to victory against a 10 man Red Star Belgrade in tonight’s Europa League clash at the Rajko Mitic Stadium.

In a night where Arsene Wenger opted to field a relatively inexperienced side it was the three established names in the lineup that saved the Gunners’ blushes.

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Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere and Giroud all combined brillantly to give Arsenal the lead on the 85th minute.

Belgrade’s downfall was orchestrated on the 79th minute when Milan Rodic was dismissed for a second yellow card offense. The red card could have been considered harsh with Francis Coquelin making the most out of the situation when fouled.

Man of the match: Jack Wilshere

Wilshere found himself isolated at times while trying to support Giroud but provided the vital quality to give the Gunners the lead. The Englishman’s link-up play with Giroud and Walcott was superb and allowed the Frenchman to finish off an outstanding team goal.

Arsenal's Jack Wilshere

Villain of the match: Milan Rodic

Red Star did their best to personify the hostile atmosphere created by their ultras to give Arsenal an uncomfortable night at an iconic ground renowned for its intimidating nature. For 80 minutes the Serbian side did everything right with Arsenal unable to significantly trouble the home side. However, Rodic’s dismissal was the turning point in the tie and gifted Arsenal the three points.

Stat of the match

Pretty incredible really – the benefits of playing Red Star Belgrade than Barcelona or Bayern Munich…

Arsenal player ratings

Cech 6, Debuchy 6, Elneny 5, Holding 6, Nelson 5, Coquelin 5, Wilock 6, Maitland-Niles 5, Walcott 6, Wilshere 7, Giroud 6

Substitutes: McGuane N/A, Sheaf N/A

Reaction

Unsurprisingly, a lot of love for the two main men involved in the goal – Giroud and Wilshere…

And finally, tweet of the night surely goes to Matt Spiro, who perfectly sums up the enigma that is Olivier Giroud – a player equally capable of missing two-yard sitters as scoring several Puskas Award contenders a season…

More Stories Ainsley Maitland-Niles Francis Coquelin Jack Wilshere Joseph willock mathieu debuchy Mohamed Elneny Olivier Giroud Petr Cech Reiss Nelson Rob Holding theo walcott