A roundup of all of Thursday’s action in Europe’s “other” club competition, the Europa League…
Arsenal 6-0 BATE Borisov
Having already locked up the top spot in Group H, Arsene Wenger could have continued on playing a youth-heavy side in Europe, but the likes of Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck, Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere (perpetually), Francis Coquelin and Mathieu Debuchy are all either working their respective ways back from injury or needing minutes for fitness purposes, thus spelling an extremely tough night for Belarusian side BATE.
Debuchy, Walcott and Wilshere each scored in the first half to make it 3-0 at halftime, the first of which came very early on and in stunning fashion from the Frenchman.
An own goal six minutes into the second half made it 4-0, followed a penalty kick from Giroud and an exclamation-point sixth from Mohamed Elneny in the 64th and 74th minutes, respectively, for 6-0.
Apollon Limassol 0-3 Everton
Everton’s 2017-18 Premier League season has been, by their own lofty standards and expectations, a disaster. Now that Sam Allardyce has replaced Ronald Koeman as permanent manager — though he wasn’t in attendance on Thursday, due to a previously schedule medical appointment — perhaps the Toffees are set to hit their stride and pick up a run of positive results.
The most encouraging part of Thursday’s thrashing of Cypriot side Limassol was the youth which did the majority of the damage. A pair of 20-year-olds — Ademola Lookman (times two) and Nikola Vlasic — got the goals for a side which also featured 18-year-old Fraser Hornby at forward, 19-year-old Beni Baningime at right back, 18-year-old Morgan Feeney at center back and 21-year-old Harry Charsley at left back.
The future appears to be quite bright for Everton if: 1) they can survive this season, and 2) Allardyce gives the youngsters the games they need to develop into PL players.
Rijeka 2-0 AC Milan
Milan’s disastrous season continued with a defeat away to Croatian side Rijeka on Thursday. After spending wildly in the summer, the Rossoneri have struggled to a ninth-place standing in Serie A and largely limped their way to progression from Group D in the Europa League.
Thursday’s team was a strong mixture of big-money names and promising youngsters, and still, Gennaro Gattuso is seeking his first win as manager after two games in charge.
Elsewhere in Europa League
Villarreal 0-1 Maccabi Tel Aviv
Zorya 1-1 Athletic Bilbao
Real Sociedad 1-3 Zenit St. Petersburg
Zulte-Waregem 3-2 Lazio
Atalanta 1-0 Lyon
Hoffenheim 1-1 Ludogorets Razgrad
Hertha Berlin 1-1 Oestersunds FK
Crvena Zvezda 1-0 Cologne
Vitesse 1-0 Nice
Marseille 0-0 Red Bull Salzburg