Arsenal’s victory in their last outing over Brentford on the weekend may not have been a pretty sight, but Arteta’s men got the job done. Victory on Wednesday would kill two birds with one stone; guaranteeing the Gunners‘ qualification for the knockouts and clinching the top spot in their group. However, having upset the home side in their previous encounter, Lens would be looking to halt any celebrations.
ARS: Raya, Tomiyasu, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko, Ødegaard, Rice, Havertz, Saka, Gabriel Jesus, Martinelli
RCL: Samba, Gradit, Danso, Medina, Frankowski, Mendy, Abdul Samed, Haïdara, Sotoca, Fulgini, Wahi
Ten minutes into the game, Havertz nearly repeated his headed goal at the weekend when Tomiyasu floated a delightful ball in but it was just wide. But just minutes after that wasted opportunity, the German had the ball in the Lens net. Tomiyasu had done well to get the ball back into the box, with Gabriel Jesus then flicking on for his midfield colleague.Embed from Getty Images
It was Jesus who doubled the lead after twenty minutes, after Bukayo Saka bundled the ball to the striker as he was falling. The Brazilian feinted to shoot, dropping a body to the floor before burying his effort into the bottom corner.
Bad quickly turned to worse for Lens, as Saka was the third to get on the scoresheet only moments after teeing up Jesus. Gabriel Martinelli initiated the move, cutting in from the left flank and taking aim – and while Brice Samba was able to palm it away, his clearance fell into the Englishman’s path, who chested into an empty net.
It had started to get embarrassing for Lens with less than thirty minutes on the clock, and it was soon Martinelli’s turn to add flames to the riot. The winger twisted inside and then back out, before curling into the corner of the net.
Medina nearly got one back for the visitors before the break, but his effort struck the woodwork to keep the score as it was – in what was Lens’ only chance of the half that came close to threatening David Raya’s clean sheet.
The last action of the half spelled more misery for the French side, with Takehiro Tomiyasu providing once more for Martin Ødegaard, who volleyed it in from close range.Embed from Getty Images
The second half didn’t quite replicate the fireworks that the first half did, as Arsenal seemed content with the scoreline. The first big chance of the second happened after eighty minutes of play, when Ben White headed narrowly over the bar.
On the 85th minute, Martinelli won a penalty after he was elbowed by substitute Khusanov, who hung his head in shame. Never in doubt, Jorginho stepped up with a remarkable confidence to make it six on the night, sending Samba the wrong way.
Elye Wahi would have the last chance to redeem his team’s honour, but Gabriel came across to make the block, letting out a bellowing scream as he did so to keep the final score at 6-0. Arsenal’s qualification is now secured, with their final group stage match against PSV just a formality.