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Arsenal 6-0 Lens: Gunners win Champions League group with first-half rout

Kai Havertz scored for the first time in the Champions League this season when he beat Brice Samba to the ball in the 13th minute..READ THE FULL STORY HERE▶

Arsenal reached the Champions League knockouts as group winners by thumping Lens at Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners scored five in a phenomenal first-half display as they reach the last 16 in their first appearance in the competition for seven years.

Kai Havertz, Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard all scored in the first half, before Jorginho added a late penalty.

Arsenal progress from Group B alongside PSV Eindhoven, with Lens out.

“I didn’t even dream like this,” Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said. “The team from the beginning showed a lot of aggression and determination to go for the game.

“Everything happened in the right way in the first 30 minutes. That was really helpful to win the game.”

Havertz, brought into the starting XI after scoring the winner against Brentford at the weekend, opened the scoring on 13 minutes when Lens failed to clear a looping ball into the box. Jesus nodded across goal and Havertz showed a striker’s instinct to finish from close range ahead of goalkeeper Brice Samba.

“Scoring goals, playing well, participating in wins – those are positive attributes,” Arteta said of Havertz’s performance. “You saw the reception of his team-mates and the crowd being with him, singing his name. He’s a tremendous player.”

Jesus turned scorer to slot the second past Samba from 15 yards, sweeping home after being set up by Saka’s powerful run between defenders from the right.

Arsenal’s attacking unit was in full flow, illustrated by Saka taking his turn to move from provider to scorer just two minutes and 20 seconds later, steering the ball home after Samba saved from Martinelli.

Brazil winger Martinelli would not be denied and scored the best of the lot on 27 minutes, finding the far bottom corner after cutting inside from the left.

The fifth came in first-half stoppage time, Odegaard perfectly timing a volley from 12 yards following Takehiro Tomiyasu’s excellent cross.

Arsenal are the first side in Champions League history to have five different scorers in the first half of a match.

A more sedate second half followed, before Jorginho added a sixth from the spot following a handball by Abduqodir Khusanov.
Irresistible Arsenal power into last 16

It had appeared, around half an hour before kick-off, that Arsenal would progress to the last 16 without kicking a ball – only for PSV’s remarkable comeback at Sevilla to force them to earn their knockout place on the field.

Mikel Arteta’s side started this match as if annoyed at the inconvenience of having to do the job themselves, and wanting to get it done as swiftly as possible.

Through the smoke from pyrotechnics smuggled in by Lens fans, Arsenal were irresistible in the first half and particularly when scoring three in seven minutes.

They also played like they had a score to settle with Lens, a team they had not beaten in three previous Champions League games including the reverse fixture in Group B, which the French side won 2-1.

“Defeats give you a lot of things to think about and take the learnings from,” Arteta said. “Credit to them, they are a really good side who are extremely well coached and make life very difficult for you but today we were very effective.”

Saka, on the fifth anniversary of his senior Arsenal debut, was particularly redoubtable despite being frequently fouled.

His assist for the second goal was his fourth in five Champions League games. No Arsenal player has previously set up more than three in a single campaign.

The early onslaught appeared to put the record Champions League victory margin under threat – set by Liverpool and Real Madrid with 8-0 victories over Besiktas and Malmo respectively – however Lens avoided that indignity and will still reach the Europa League if they avoid defeat to Sevilla on 12 December.
Analysis – ‘Really ruthless, really clinical’

Former Premier League striker Chris Sutton, speaking on BBC 5 Live

An outstanding display from Mikel Arteta’s team. They started the game strongly and got the first goal, then went from strength to strength. They eased off in the second half but it’s job done.

They have so many talented players. Martinelli and Saka were helped by some really weak defending from Lens, but Arsenal were really ruthless, really clinical. Odegaard missed a couple of games, his importance to the team in the final third, his awareness, his vision, his ability to slide a ball. You know what you are going to get from Jesus in terms of tenacity but he took his goal well. They look like a really well-balanced team.

Arteta has set very high standards at Arsenal. They are now playing where the stakes are really high because they want to challenge Manchester City for the Premier League, which they did last season but they fell away. In the Champions League they want to show they can compete and go all the way.

How do they go about that? How are they going to win the Champions League? By maintaining that level all the way through, which isn’t going to be easy.
Line-ups
Arsenal

Formation 4-3-3

22Raya
18Tomiyasu Substituted forWhiteat 45’minutes
2Saliba
6Gabriel
35Zinchenko Substituted forKiwiorat 45’minutes
8Ødegaard
41Rice Substituted forJorginhoat 75’minutes
29Havertz
7Saka Substituted forNelsonat 66’minutes
9Gabriel Jesus Substituted forNketiahat 82’minutes
11Martinelli

Substitutes

1Ramsdale
4White
14Nketiah
15Kiwior
17Cédric Soares
19Trossard
20Jorginho
24Nelson
25Elneny
31Hein
59Lewis-Skelly
63Nwaneri

Lens

Formation 3-4-2-1

30Samba
24Gradit Substituted forKhusanovat 62’minutesBooked at 63mins
4Danso
14Medina Substituted forMachadoat 45’minutes
29Frankowski
26MendyBooked at 41mins Substituted forPereira da Costaat 76’minutes
6Abdul Samed Substituted forEl Aynaouiat 45’minutes
21HaïdaraBooked at 64mins
7Sotoca Substituted forThomassonat 45’minutes
11Fulgini
9Wahi

Substitutes

2Aguilar
3Machado
10Pereira da Costa
16Leca
18Diouf
20Maouassa
22Saïd
23El Aynaoui
25Khusanov
28Thomasson
40Pandor

Referee:
Artur Manuel Soares Dias
Attendance:
59,987

Match Stats

Live Text

Match ends, Arsenal 6, Lens 0.

Second Half ends, Arsenal 6, Lens 0.

Kevin Danso (Lens) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal).

Attempt blocked. Elye Wahi (Lens) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Neil El Aynaoui.

Elye Wahi (Lens) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by William Saliba (Arsenal).

Angelo Fulgini (Lens) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Kai Havertz (Arsenal).

Goal! Arsenal 6, Lens 0. Jorginho (Arsenal) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.

VAR Decision: Penalty Arsenal.

Penalty conceded by Abduqodir Khusanov (Lens) with a hand ball in the penalty area.

Substitution, Arsenal. Eddie Nketiah replaces Gabriel Jesus.

Attempt missed. Ben White (Arsenal) header from the right side of the six yard box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Martin Ødegaard with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Abduqodir Khusanov.

Massadio Haïdara (Lens) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Martin Ødegaard (Arsenal).

Reiss Nelson (Arsenal) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Abduqodir Khusanov (Lens).

Substitution, Lens. David Pereira da Costa replaces Nampalys Mendy.

Player of the match

Gabriel MartinelliGabriel Martinelli
Arsenal

Squad number11Player nameGabriel Martinelli

Squad number7Player nameSaka

Squad number9Player nameGabriel Jesus

Squad number41Player nameRice

Squad number8Player nameØdegaard

Squad number29Player nameHavertz

Squad number18Player nameTomiyasu

Squad number6Player nameGabriel Magalhães

Squad number2Player nameSaliba

Squad number35Player nameZinchenko

Squad number4Player nameWhite

Squad number20Player nameJorginho

Squad number15Player nameKiwior

Squad number 24 Player name Nelson

Squad number14Player nameNketiah

Squad number22Player nameRaya

Lens

Squad number9Player nameWahi

Squad number10Player namePereira da Costa

Squad number6Player nameAbdul Samed

Squad number4Player nameDanso

Squad number26Player nameMendy

Squad number30Player nameSamba

Squad number28Player nameThomasson

Squad number29Player nameFrankowski

Squad number14Player nameMedina

Squad number21Player nameHaïdara

Squad number24Player nameGradit

Squad number25Player nameKhusanov

Squad number23Player nameEl Aynaoui

Squad number7Player nameSotoca

Squad number3Player nameMachado

Squad number11Player nameFulgini

 

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Kylian Walterlin

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