Five Thoughts: Arsenal 2-0 West Bromwich Albion and BATE Borisov 2-4 Arsenal

As a general point of information, these may unfortunately become more spotty over the next several months. I've mentioned on here before that I'm a new referee, and Saturdays/Sundays are where the games are, oddly enough. Since I don't have TV, and in turn have no DVR, I won't always be able to see all these things.

1. I didn't see a minute of the West Brom game, for the reasons outlined above, but from what I read it was one of those bitty old matches where luck was somewhat on our side for once. The clip I saw of Shkrodan Mustafi's tackle in the penalty area looked like a fairly stonewall penalty to me, but I can see why the referee thought advantage was on there - it took a brilliant save from Petr Cech to stop them from scoring anyway. Things also may have been different had Nacho Monreal not apparently studied in the Bruce Lee School of Acrobatic Goal Line Clearances.

On the other hand, fuck Tony Pulis in the face.

As far as the good guys go, we can't complain with Alexandre Lacazette finding the net two more times. It's funny how people expect any new player who cost a few bob to immediately send goals raining from the heavens, like these aren't humans who need time to adjust to a new country, new language, new teammates, new manager, new everything. If Laca is scoring this frequently now, I'm kinda excited to see what he can come up with once he's settled in.

2. Moving on to today's match, the win against Koln was always going to give us a little leeway to deprioritize this one. Arsene's team selection showed it too, as the starting XI were basically all the first-team guys that never play, and the bench looked like recess at the local middle school. Given how difficult it is to go away to these far-flung corners of Eastern Europe and get results, I honestly would have been OK with whatever happened today.

I mean, Red Star should be at least 4 points, preferably 6. Away to Koln might be tough, but these dudes should be a win at home. Getting out of this group shouldn't exactly be neurosurgery, is what I'm saying.

3. Anyway, if this lot have won their league 11 years on the spin, which they apparently have, the other mobs must be worse than the pub teams north of Hadrian's Wall. Theo had already hit the post by the time 8 minutes were gone, and a minute later he had the ball in the net. BATE were all over the place, and were undone by a simple attack culminating in a Jack Wilshere cross to the back post, where Feo was unattended. Easy peasy.

Not as easy as the next one though, where, my god, we got on David Ospina's case for his poor clearance. At least that was on the dead run after coming miles out of his area to deal with something his defense couldn't. I can kind of understand it. This time, the lad in BATE's goal just kind of shoveled a crap ball to Walcott, under no pressure whatsoever. Theo won't have an easier goal in his career, I imagine.

4. A minute later, Rob Holding scored his first goal for the club, shinning one in off a corner kick. Honestly, this one was largely over as a contest after that, even though they annoyingly scored a couple of goals later on. He's had a rough time in the beginning of the season, so this will surely do the kid's confidence the world of good.

That reminds me Calum Chambers still here? Is he hurt or something? You'd figure this should be the kind of game he's playing in.

Then, of course, we fall asleep at 0-3 and fail to contest a simple cross from the byline. Nothing Ospina could do about a point-blank header with that kind of pace on it from 10 yards out. Unreal.

The home side may have gotten themselves back into it before the half was over, but Ospina made a couple of decent saves to stop any of that nonsense from happening. Once we got a penalty early in the second half, this really was over.

5. The second half otherwise just kinda...happened. Yep.

On to the next!