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. 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.