Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere put in man of the match worthy performances as Arsenal completed their Europa League group stage commitments with a 6-0 thrashing of BATE Borisov on Thursday night (7 December).
The former scored one goal and was involved in further three as the Gunners dominated the proceedings right from the start. Wilshere was played in a traditional number 10 role as Arsene Wenger reverted to a back four in the 4-2-3-1 formation for the first time this season.
The English midfielder was impressive throughout the game and pulled the strings from midfield and created a number of opportunities for his teammates. Wilshere capped off his night with one goal — his first in over two years for the club — and an assist to Mohamed Elneny to complete the rout.
Walcott and Wilshere have struggled to break into Wenger's Premier League side with all their starts coming in the Europa League and the Carabao Cup. The former has played just 46 minutes in the league thus far, while the latter is not far ahead with 65 minutes under his belt.
The duo are hoping that an impressive showing in the Europa League will give them a better chance of being called up to the main team, and are happy to take their chance when it arrives. Walcott is happy to give the manager a "headache" in terms of team selection going into one of the busiest periods of the season.
"The boss told us to enjoy ourselves," Walcott told BT Sport after the win, as quoted by the London Evening Standard. "We played with a lot of freedom. Defensively we were solid. Obviously, it's nice to get all these goals.
"There is plenty of competition when you play for Arsenal. We are doing our best to give the manager a headache to pick us for the team. We were very professional tonight. We will see in time what's going to happen," the former Southampton forward added.
Wilshere, meanwhile, was happy to end his goal scoring drought for the club — his last strike was in May 2015. The England international is also hoping that his strong performances in Europa and in the Carabao Cup will lead to more appearances in the English top-flight. But, he is aware that the competition for places is fierce, especially in his position.
Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka are currently ahead of him for a place in midfield in the Premier League team. It is mainly the former of the aforementioned trio, as Wenger has been using Wilshere in a more offensive position this season.
Ozil and Ramsey have been in fine form in recent weeks and the Englishman is aware that it will be a hard task to break into the starting XI. But he is ready to put the interests of the team first and has urged them to bounce back from their most recent loss to Manchester United when the Arsenal travel to St Mary's to take on Southampton on Sunday (10 December).
"It's a bit of a relief [that I scored]. It's one of those games — it didn't mean anything because we had topped the group," Wilshere added.
"It's one of those games you need to be in the right mind — we enjoyed it. We're happy to go into the next round. All we can do when we get our opportunity is give the manager a headache.
"This is Arsenal, we have top players and all I can do when I'm called upon in the Europa League and off the bench in the Premier League is give my all, but at the end of the day what matters is the team," the Gunners midfielder explained about his chances of playing in the Premier League, as quoted on Arsenal's official site.
"The team have been on a good run, except at the weekend, but we're confident in all of our players, that we can bounce back. We have a good squad here and it's tough getting ahead of some of these players, so all I can do is try and do my best."