Cech concedes Arsenal could have played for hours against BATE and not scored

The Gunners goalkeeper admits Unai Emery’s side were far from their best during a trip to Belarus, but is backing them to make amends on home soil

Petr Cech concedes that Arsenal could have played “for another couple of hours” and not troubled the scorers during a disappointing Europa League display against BATE.

The Gunners headed to Borisov on Thursday aware of the challenges the conditions and opposition would pose in Belarus.

Unai Emery had vowed to have no excuses prior to the game, but saw his side fail to get going in a continental clash which delivered a frustrating 1-0 defeat.

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Arsenal also had Alexandre Lacazette sent off on another forgettable evening away from home.

Struggles on the road have been an issue for some time now and there was little suggestion of a reversal in fortune being enjoyed against BATE.

The one consolation for the Gunners, who mustered only three efforts on target from 16 shots fired in, is that they still have the return leg of a last-32 encounter to come at Emirates Stadium.

That is some relief for Cech, who told reporters after previously stating his desire to head into retirement this summer on the back of another trophy triumph: “It was one of those games where if we played for another couple of hours probably we wouldn’t have scored. But there are games in football like that. 

“You try, you play, the goal does not arrive and you have to go home with the result you don’t want but you have to pick yourself up and be ready for the second leg.

“This is the advantage of playing two-legged ties – when one game goes wrong you can always make up for it.”

Arsenal will get an immediate opportunity to make amends against BATE.

Having already exited the FA Cup, Emery’s side are heading into a free weekend and their next outing will be back in Europe on home soil next Thursday.

They are then set to play host to Southampton and Bournemouth in the Premier League before making the short trip to Wembley Stadium for a derby date with Tottenham.

Momentum will be needed heading into that clash, in an ongoing battle to secure a top-four finish, with a fixture against Spurs set to be followed by another heavyweight meeting with Manchester United.

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