Arsene Wenger hailed a “stylish” win as his Arsenal side hammered BATE Borisov to wrack up his 700th victory as Gunners boss.
Arsenal were already assured of their place in Monday’s round of 32 draw after securing top spot in Group H ahead of an impressive 6-0 win over the Belarusian champions in front of a sparse Emirates Stadium crowd.
Mathieu Debuchy, Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere and Mohamed Elneny all got on the score-sheet while Denis Polyakov scored an own goal and Olivier Giroud converted a penalty.
Arsenal, who could draw the likes of Borussia Dortmund, Napoli or Celtic in the draw for the knockout stages, were comfortable throughout as less than 30,000 fans watched on – a record low for the Emirates.
Wenger was pleased to toast his landmark win and felt his players delivered it in style.
“I believe that it was done in a stylish way and in a technically-high quality game from our side,” he said.
“You can say the opponent was not at the level of the Premier League and I would agree with you but you can only do your job and that’s what we did, in a convincing way with remarkable spirit and finished well the job in this group stage.”
Wenger said he respected those fans who stayed away from a game that carried little to no importance on Arsenal’s season and pointed to the kind of dead rubber games produced by group-stage competition.
“I think you forget about that once you are on the pitch,” he said when asked about the low attendance.
“It’s true that you prefer the ground to be full, but tonight there was not a lot at stake on the competitive side. No matter how many sit in the stands, you have to give them what they expect – and that’s what we did.
“You respect the decision of your fans. They knew we were top of the group anyway and you could basically expect that.
“You have looked around last night in the Champions League in game number six, I have seen many grounds not full, or half empty. That is a bit the problem of the group stage.”
BATE coach Aleksandr Yermakovich admitted his side were not ready for the Arsenal onslaught as their season ended in heavy defeat.
“It was a totally different level for the team and it was very difficult for us,” he said.
“We were not prepared for this match, we were trying to play for our fans and play attacking football, sadly it didn’t happen.”