Arsenal vs RC Lens, UEFA Champions League
Arsenal qualified for the Champions League knockout stages as Group B winners after a 6-0 victory over Lens at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night.
The Gunners raced out to a four-goal lead inside the first 27 minutes, with Kai Havertz scoring on the 13-minute mark shortly before Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Saka, and Gabriel Martinelli all found the back of the net.
Martin Odegaard then added a fifth just before halftime to help Arsenal become the first English club in Champions League history to lead by five goals at the break, before substitute Jorginho converted from the spot four minutes later to seal an emphatic and thoroughly deserved win for Mikel Arteta’s side.
Arsenal cannot be caught at the top of Group B with a game to spare, as they are four points ahead of second-placed PSV Eindhoven, who beat Sevilla 3-2 in Spain.
Meanwhile, Lens, who suffered their heaviest European defeat at the hands of Arsenal, are three points further back in third place and must beat Sevilla at home in their final group match, as well as hope that Arsenal defeats PSV, if they are to advance to the last 16.
Arsenal vs RC Lens | UEFA Champions League | Matchday 5
Arsenal dominated proceedings early on and were rewarded with the opening goal scored by the man who scored the game-winner in last weekend’s 1-0 Premier League victory over Brentford.
When Havertz poked home from inside the six-yard box after Jesus rose above Kevin Danso to head the ball into the German’s path, he became the 100th different player to score a competitive goal at the Emirates.
Jesus then added a second with a brilliant inside-area sidestep and finish, before Saka chested the ball into the net two minutes and 22 seconds later after Brice Samba could only parry Martinelli’s shot straight to Arsenal’s No.7 in a central position.
Martinelli was a lively presence down the left flank, and his first-half performance was rewarded with a superb curling strike into the far corner to give Arsenal a fourth. Odegaard capped a sweeping move forward with a powerful first-time volley into the bottom corner from 12 yards after receiving a delicate cross from Takehiro Tomiyasu down the right..
Lens looked all over the place at the back, but they enjoyed a decent spell of possession towards the end of the first half and came close to pulling one back when Elye Wahi fizzed a powerful shot across the face of the six-yard box from a tight angle, shortly before Facundo Medina smacked a 25-yard strike against the post.