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Champions League: Arsenal beat Lens to book knockout spot

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Arsenal
Champions League: Arsenal beat Lens to book knockout spot. Photo/ Times Now.
  • Arsenal beat Lens 6-0 on Tuesday night at Emirates Stadium to reach the Champions League knockout stages as group winners
  • The Gunners faced Lens needing just one point to advance to the knockout stages but they ended up crushing their French opponents to secure all three points

Arsenal beat Lens 6-0 on Tuesday night at Emirates Stadium to reach the Champions League knockout stages as group winners. The Gunners scored five in a superb first-half display as they booked a spot in the last 16 in their first appearance in the competition since 2016.

Goals from Kai Havertz, Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard in the first half gave Arsenal fans a reason to celebrate before Jorginho added a late penalty. Arsenal are the first side in Champions League history to have five different scorers in the first half of a match.

The Gunners faced Lens needing just one point to advance to the knockout stages but they ended up crushing their French opponents to secure all three points. The Gunners’ 6-0 win was the biggest ever victory by an English team against a French opponent in European competition.

Arsenal beat Lens

Arsenal had five different scorers in the first half. Photo/ Football365.

Arsenal progress from Group B alongside PSV Eindhoven, with Lens out. Mikel Arteta’s side have 12 points, four above second placed PSV. Lens, who are third on the group standings have five points. Sevilla are fourth with just two points in five matches.

How Arsenal Beat Lens

It had appeared around half an hour before kick-off at Emirates Stadium that Arsenal would progress to the round of 16 without even kicking a ball. However, PSV’s remarkable comeback at Sevilla meant the Gunners needed to earn their knockout spot on the field.

Arsenal made two changes from last weekend’s win at Brentford, with David Raya coming in for Aaron Ramsdale and Kai Havertz replacing Leandro Trossard.

Kai Havertz picked up from where he left last weekend by opening the scoring for Arsenal inside 13 minutes. The German midfielder poked home after Gabriel Jesus headed across the box to become the 100th Arsenal player to score a competitive goal at the Emirates. There was a brief VAR check for offside but the goal stood.

Arsenal increased their lead through on the 21st minute, this time through Gabriel Jesus who sent two defenders the wrong way before burying his shot in the corner.

Bukayo Saka, who assisted Jesus’ goal, was on the scoresheet two minutes later after pouncing on a rebound. Lens goalkeeper Brice Samba had forced a save from Gabriel Martinelli before the ball landed on Saka’s way. The brilliant Brazilian was not to be left out on the scoring frenzy, as he added Arsenal’s fourth in the 27th minute. It was a sensational solo goal, initially picking up a raking pass from Tomiyasu on the left wing, before driving into the area and firing home.

Captain Martin Odegaard then added the fifth in first-half stoppage time, perfectly timing a volley from 12 yards following Takehiro Tomiyasu’s superb cross.

With the scoreline 5-0 at half time, it looked as though Arsenal were onslaught to breaking the record Champions League victory margin, which was set by Real Madrid and Liverpool who thrashed Malmo and Besiktas 8-0, respectively.

Arsenal

Arsenal beat Lens 6-0. Photo/ Times Now.

However, Lens did defend well after the break to avoid such a humiliation away. They conceded just one goal in the second half, a Jorginho penalty in the 86th minute.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta praised his side after the match for their superb performance in the Champions League.

“I didn’t even dream like this. We had the chance to qualify today and be top of the group and I think we’ve done it in a really convincing way. 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.” Mikel Arteta told reporters after Arsenal beat Lens 6-0.

Abraham Odhiambo is an avid sports fan who loves to write about football, boxing and wrestling. He's a big supporter of Manchester United. He's pursuing a bachelor's degree in Communication and Media at Egerton University.

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