Arsenal stormed into the Champions League last 16 as Group B winners with a resounding 6-0 victory over Lens at the Emirates Stadium. Mikel Arteta’s side needed just one point to secure their spot in the knockout stages but went above and beyond, delivering a four-goal blitz within 14 minutes.
The Gunners’ attacking prowess was on full display as Kai Havertz, Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Saka, and Gabriel Martinelli all found the net within the first 27 minutes. Martin Odegaard added a fifth just before halftime, and Jorginho sealed the emphatic win with a late penalty.
This impressive victory not only ensures Arsenal’s progression to the next stage but also guarantees them the top spot in the group, providing the advantage of a home tie in the last 16 second leg.
Mikel Arteta expressed his delight at the team’s performance, stating, “I didn’t even dream of this. We had the chance to qualify and top the group. We did it in a beautiful way.” The manager highlighted the team’s aggression and ability to perform at a high level, emphasizing their belief in facing formidable opponents in the upcoming stages of the competition.
The comprehensive win follows Arsenal’s strong form in both the Champions League and the Premier League, where they currently sit at the summit. With four wins in five group games, Arteta’s team is making a significant statement of intent in their pursuit of the club’s maiden Champions League crown.
The night turned out to be a nightmare for Lens, who not only suffered elimination but also faced issues with their fans, including the throwing of flares into the Arsenal section and onto the pitch. Lens manager Franck Haise acknowledged the vast difference between the two sides, praising Arsenal’s consistency at a high level.
Arsenal had previously suffered a defeat at the hands of Lens in October, making this resounding victory a crucial redemption. The Gunners’ dominant performance, featuring five different scorers in the first half, sets a new record in Champions League history.
As Arsenal looks forward to the knockout stages, Arteta acknowledged the challenge, stating, “Now we wait to see who we face next.” This season promises to be a thrilling one for the north Londoners, who are not only excelling in domestic competition but are now poised to make a significant impact on the European stage.