Skip to content
Full Time After Extra Time This is a live match. Extra Time Half Time

Arsenal vs RC Lens. UEFA Champions League Group B.

Emirates StadiumAttendance59,987.

Arsenal 6

  • K Havertz (13th minute)
  • G Jesus (21st minute)
  • B Saka (23rd minute)
  • G Martinelli (27th minute)
  • M Ødegaard (46th minute)
  • Jorginho (86th minute pen)

RC Lens 0

    Arsenal 6-0 RC Lens: Gunners through to Champions League last-16 as Group B winners after stunning first half

    Match report as Kai Havertz, Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli score in 14 first-half minutes to see Arsenal into commanding lead; Martin Odegaard added fifth on stroke of half-time; Jorginho made it six from the penalty spot; Gunners go through as Group B winners

    Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

    Sky Sports News reporter Gary Cotterill gives his thoughts on Arsenal's comprehensive 6-0 victory over Lens in the Champions League

    Arsenal cruised through to the Champions League last-16 as group winners after a breathtaking first half saw them beat Lens 6-0 at the Emirates.

    The pressure had been turned back on the Gunners by PSV, whose late comeback win against Sevilla in the early kick-off meant Arsenal needed a point to qualify for the knockout rounds.

    And they answered the call emphatically. In fact, it took just 13 minutes in the first half for Arsenal to dismantle their opponents, who had beaten them 2-1 in the reverse fixture in October.

    Kai Havertz (13) began the glut, scoring in his second successive game, before Gabriel Jesus (21) doubled. Bukayo Saka (23) - continuing his fine form in the Champions League this season - bundled home the next, but the best came from a fine, solo effort from Gabriel Martinelli (27).

    His effort was perhaps matched by Martin Odegaard's (45+1) brilliant strike on the stroke of half-time, whipping home a thunderous volley. Jorginho (86) then rounded off a statement Arsenal performance from the penalty spot after European debutant Abduqodir Khusanov was penalised for handball.

    The result sees the Gunners through as Group B winners with 12 points, with PSV joining them in the knockout rounds. They face each other in the final group game in a fortnight's time. Lens, meanwhile, have been knocked out of the Champions League.

    Reflecting on the performance after the game, Mikel Arteta said: "It was a genuine dream. We had a chance to qualify today and we've done it in a really convincing way against a really good side. The team from the beginning showed a lot of aggression and determination to go for the game.

    Also See:

    "It's great we're able to win in this way and we showed at home not to concede any goals and score a lot which is a positive factor. The players need to believe we can do that against big opponents."

    Brilliant Bukayo

    • Bukayo Saka is the third player on record (2003-04 onwards) to both score and assist in three consecutive home games in the UEFA Champions League, after Karim Benzema (4 in 2011-12) and Luis Suárez (3 in 2015-16).
    • Bukayo Saka is the first Premier League player, and second across Europe's big-five leagues (also Florian Wirtz), to reach 10 assists in all competitions this season.
    • Bukayo Saka is the first English player to assist three or more goals in a single Champions League season for Arsenal.

    How Arsenal blew Lens away

    Martin Odegaard scored a fine goal late in the first half
    Image: Martin Odegaard scored a fine goal late in the first half

    A 13-minute blitz at the start of the first half saw Arsenal into an unassailable lead. Takehiro Tomiyasu had already sent a number of fine crosses into the area, and the Lens defence almost dealt with this one.

    But the looping ball was instead nodded down by Jesus, with Havertz incoming to rifle home past Brice Samba. There was a brief VAR check for offside, but the goal stood.

    Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

    Paul Merson reacts after Gabriel Martinelli put Arsenal 4-0 up inside 28 minutes against Lens in the Champions League

    For the second, Bukayo Saka was the creator. He cut in from the right, with the Lens defence needing two attempts to muscle him off the ball. But after the second, the ball rolled into Jesus' path. He dummied two defenders before sweeping home.

    Team news headlines

    • Arsenal made two changes from the weekend's win at Brentford.
    • David Raya came in for Aaron Ramsdale, while Kai Havertz replaced Leandro Trossard.

    Three minutes later and Saka was on the scoresheet himself, marking the fifth anniversary of his Arsenal debut. Havertz's initial shot was well-saved by Samba, but the 22-year-old was in the right spot to see the ball hit him on the legs and into the back of the net.

    Martinelli was not to be left out on the scoring frenzy, adding 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.

    Player ratings

    Arsenal: Raya (6), Tomiyasu (8), Saliba (7), Gabriel (7), Zinchenko (7), Odegaard (8), Rice (8), Havertz (8), Saka (8), Jesus (8), Martinelli (8).

    Subs used: White (7), Kiwior (7), Nelson (7), Jorginho (7), Nketiah (n/a).

    Lens: Samba (5), Gradit (6), Danso (6), Medina (6), Frankoweki (6), Mendy (6), Samed (6), Haidara (5), Sotoca (5), Fulgini (6), Wahi (6).

    Subs used: Machado (5), Thomasson (5), El Anyaoui (5), Khusanov (4), Pereira Da Costa (5).

    Player of the match: Bukayo Saka.

    Lens began to find their feet between goals four and five - with the latter coming on the stroke of half-time. It was a lightening quick break from Saka, who fed Tomiyasu on the overlap. It was another fine cross into the area from the Japan international, with Odegaard incoming to volley home a superb effort to round off an equally as brilliant first half.

    The second half was an exercise in game management for Arsenal, which they executed to perfection. Lens registered no shots on target after the break as the Gunners came away with a clean sheet intact.

    Jorginho added a late sixth from the penalty spot
    Image: Jorginho added a late sixth from the penalty spot

    But there was a sixth goal, which came after a fairly lengthy VAR review for a penalty. It initially appeared to be focused on Khusanov's unintentional elbow into Martinelli, but it was in fact the ball hitting the Lens defender's arm as he held it across the Arsenal forward's chest that was penalised for handball.

    Jorginho lined the spot kick up for Arsenal, coolly sending the goalkeeper the wrong way as the Gunners cruised into the last-16 with a game to spare.

    Merson: Arsenal will be feared in the Champions League

    Sky Sports' Paul Merson on Soccer Special:

    "I said at the start I thought they are big players in this tournament. No one will want to play them.

    "They clicked tonight - and when they start well they're hard to beat. They will go a long way in this tournament and they'll be right up there in the Premier League title race.

    "Havertz is a confidence player and he's playing with confidence right now. I thought he was the best player on the pitch tonight. He was elegant, he picked the right passes and made the right decisions. He's a top player. I don't think he's playing in the right position but he's still a top player."

    Arteta: We scored some wonderful goals

    Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta to TNT Sports:

    "We had the chance to qualify, to be top of the group and I think we've done it in a beautiful way.

    "It has to be [one of the best first-half performances he's seen], when you score five goals in the first half in the Champions League against a really good side, the boys deserve the credit, they were really good.

    "You can become really sloppy and there were parts in the second half when you start to see different behaviours but the team stayed really focused. We haven't conceded a goal in the Champions League at home so it's good, good stats.

    "We used the spaces really well, we were really efficient and scored some wonderful goals."

    Jesus: We went full gas!

    Arsenal's Gabriel Jesus to TNT Sports:

    "From the start we were amazing. We go full gas.

    "The team performance was top - now we have to keep going because on Saturday we have another big one.

    "Playing at home, our fans' support is always amazing and they push us. Qualifying first is important, so congratulations to the whole team."

    Opta stats -

    • Arsenal's 6-0 win is the biggest ever victory by an English team against a French opponent in European competition.
    • Arsenal's 4-0 lead within 27 minutes was the joint-fastest an English side has ever scored four in a UEFA Champions League game, along with Manchester United v Brøndby IF in November 1998 (who went on to win the competition that season).
    • Arsenal became the first side in UEFA Champions League history to have as many as five different scorers (excl. own goals) in the first half of a match in the competition.
    • Arsenal's Gabriel Jesus became the first player to score in each of his first four UEFA Champions League appearances for an English team (four goals).

    What's next?

    Arsenal host Wolves in the Premier League on Saturday; kick-off 3pm. The Gunners complete their Champions League group stage campaign away at PSV on Tuesday December 12; kick off 5.45pm.

    Lens host Lyon at 4pm on Saturday in Ligue 1 while they host Sevilla in the Champions League on December 12; kick off 5.45pm.

    Win £250,000 with Super 6!
    Win £250,000 with Super 6!

    Correctly predict six scorelines to win £250,000 for free with Super 6. Entries by 3pm Saturday.

    Around Sky